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Black History Month: 20 Must-See Movies & Series to Watch on Netflix

So, what exactly is Black History Month and why is it so important? Black History month first started in America as a month to remember important people and events in history back in 1970, but it wasn’t until ’87 that Black History Month was celebrated in the UK and has since then grown in scope and recognition. In 2018, Instagram created its first ever Black History Month Programme and thanks to the events of 2020, Black History Month is now being shared more widely.

A great way to not only educate yourself on black history, but to be inspired by black culture too, is through films and TV shows – we understand that many of us prefer this method over podcasts or books. So, we’ve rounded up 20 movies and shows that you’ll want to watch on repeat. From documentaries like Becoming – an intimate look into Michelle Obama’s life – to informative and gripping shows like When They See Us.

So, grab your popcorn, and perhaps a box of tissues too, and snuggle up to a weekend of binge-worthy (and educational) films.

1. Becoming

Becoming is a documentary that follows former First Lady Michelle Obama on her 34-city tour to promote her book of the same name. The documentary offers an intimate and close up look into the former First Lady’s life.

2. When They See Us

A brutal, must-see series, based on a true story that tells the story of 5 teenagers from Harlem, New York City who get trapped in a real-life nightmare when they’re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park.

3. Self Made

Follow the inspiring true story of how one African American washerwoman rises from poverty to build a beauty empire and become the first female self-made millionaire.

4. Juanita

Feeling fed up with her life, Juanita makes the decision to leave her grown up kids behind and hit the road in search of a new life in Paper Moon, Montana.

5. Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé

Because a documentary on Beyonce is not to be missed. This documentary is an intimate, in-depth look at Beyonce’s iconic 2018 Coachella performance.

6. Uncorked

Uncorked follows the story of Elijah, a young black male who has dreams of becoming a sommelier, but his father has high expectations of him carrying on the family’s Memphis BBQ joint. But some things just can’t stay bottled up.

7. The Get Down

If upbeat music is what you’re after, then The Get Down is the series for you. Based in 1977 New York City, the series follows the talented and soulful youth from the South Bronx chase their dreams to transform the music scene.

8. Barry

Barry is a film based on a young Barack Obama and a look into the early life of the former U.S President. Watch the film that follows the cultural and racial issues Obama faced whilst living life as an ordinary New York City college student.

9. Dolemite Is My Name

Eddie Murphy plays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore in this Netflix original film based in 1970s LA. Rudy is a struggling comedian who hits it big with his raunchy alter ego, Dolemite, then risks it all to take his act to the big screen.

10. Menace II Society

Survive the streets or survive for good? A question that high school graduate Caine is asking. Follow his attempt to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto for a better life.

11. Dear White People

Dear White People is a 3-part series that follows a group of black students navigating their way around a white Ivy League college and the various forms of racism and discrimination they encounter on a daily basis.

12. Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia

‘Daily Show’ host Trevor Noah touches on tacos, runaway snakes, camping, racism immunity and lessons he learns from his mother in this comedy special. Trevor earned a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album thanks to this Netflix special.

13. 13th

13th begins with an alarming statistic: One in four African-American males will serve time in prison at some point in their lives. As part of Netflix’s Black Lives Matter Collection, 13th is a social and cultural documentary that interviews scholars, activists and politicians on the criminalisation of African Americans and the U.S prison boom.

14. American Son

Watch the Netflix original film that follows an estranged interracial couple during a tough and tense time at a Florida police station as they await news of their missing son.

15. Quincy

A documentary that profiles music and culture legend Quincy Jones. Offering never-before-seen footage into his private life and stories from his unparalleled career.

16. A Fall From Grace

If you’re up for a thriller then you’ll be sure to enjoy A Fall From Grace.

The film follows the story of Grace, a gentle law-abiding citizen who confesses to killing her husband. However, her sceptical lawyer sets out to uncover the truth.

17. Coach Carter

Controversial basketball coach Ken Carter makes a controversial decision to bench his entire team due to their poor school academic performances.

18. The Black Godfather

A film documentary that follows the life of Clarence Avant, the ultimate, uncensored mentor and behind-the-scenes rainmaker in music, film, TV and politics.

19. See You Yesterday

A modern thriller that follows two teen science prodigies who spend every spare minute on their latest homemade invention: backpacks that enable time travel. And when a tragic police shooting disrupts their future, they put their backpacks to test if they can change the turn of events.

20. Beats

Where a united love of hip hop can form an unlikely friendship. As a high school teenager and unlucky security guard build a friendship based on their love of a hip hop they decide to confront the demons of their past and try to break into Chicago’s music scene.