Streaming Black Voices: What to watch this February
By: Adam Beam
Black History Month, among many things, is a time to reflect and celebrate the minds and creativity of black artists who paved the way for countless others, as well as changing the landscape of our modern culture. Streaming has now provided a way for these black voices to be heard in households all over the world.
Starting with Netflix… the service is home to some powerful documentaries and biopics. One of these documentaries includes the award winning 2016 film, “I Am Not Your Negro”. The documentary tells the story of James Baldwin and how his writing stood as a brave critique of the social injustices at the time. If you’re not in the mood for a documentary, Netflix is also home to films like “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, “Da 5 Bloods”, “Queen and Slim” and “Dolemite is My Name”.
Moving over to Hulu and Disney Plus, you can find new releases like the recent “Summer of Soul” documentary by musician Questlove all about the famous Harlem Cultural Festival. You can also find the award-winning mini-series “Women of the Movement” which centers around the mother of Emmit Till and her struggle following the horrific murder of her son in Mississippi in 1955. On Disney Plus you have films such as “Hidden Figures” and “Black Panther”, as well as hidden gems like the 1998 Disney Channel original film “Ruby Bridges” about the brave little girl who became the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white school in Louisiana.
Checking out the offerings on HBO Max, you can find some hilarious and heartfelt series like “Insecure” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show”. Modern award winners like “Judas and the Black Messiah”. And certified classics like 1992’s “Malcom X” and “The Color Purple”.
To close things out, one personal recommendation from me, head on over to the horror streaming service Shudder, there you’ll find the fantastic documentary “Horror Noire”. At just under an hour and a half, this feature explores the history of black representation in horror cinema. From the days of blacksploitation up to the groundbreaking modern films like “Get Out”, all being curated by some of the biggest black figures in horror, like Keith David and the Candyman himself, Tony Todd.
These are just some of the great offerings to find on streaming this month, and if you’re looking for an easy way to browse these selections, many of the named streaming services provide whole categories and collections dedicated to black artists.