15 Feel-Good Black Movies You Can Stream Right Now (that Don’t Focus on Trauma)

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Hollywood has nailed the art of portraying Black trauma on the big screen, but it’s not an achievement that we're eager to celebrate. Yes, there’s a time to educate ourselves about racial injustice and yes, it’s extremely important to shed light on problematic romances that reflect real-life experiences. But let's be honest—getting inundated with so many painful stories can get exhausting.

So, instead of focusing on narratives about the Black struggle, we’ve made it our mission to indulge in more Black stories that bring us joy. And these aren't just limited to laugh-out-loud comedies. We're talking swoon-worthy romance movies, inspirational dramas and action flicks that keep us on the edge of our seats.

From timeless classics like Coming to America to family-friendly dramas like Akeelah and the Bee, we compiled a list of the 15 best feel-good Black movies that don't center on trauma.

1. Beauty Shop (2005)

  • Cast: Queen Latifah, Alicia Silverstone, Andie MacDowell, Mena Suvari, Kevin Bacon
  • Rating: PG-13

This movie happens to be one of our comedy staples, because no matter how often we watch it, we laugh non-stop every time. Created as a spin-off of the Barbershop films, Beauty Shop follows a talented hairstylist named Gina, who decides to open her own salon. Unfortunately, multiple issues threaten the success of her new business—including her former boss.

2. Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997)

  • Cast: Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston, Paolo Montalbán, Bernadette Peters
  • Rating: G

We could go on for days about the legacy of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, but at its core, it's a beautiful reminder that Black women can get their fairy-tale happy endings too. In the film, Brandy portrays the popular princess, who falls for the charming Prince Christopher after meeting him at the ball. However, their romance comes to a halt when her evil stepmother intervenes. With the help of her fairy Godmother, Cinderella must find a way to pave her own path.

3. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

  • Cast: Keke Palmer, Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne
  • Rating: PG-13

Meet Akeelah Anderson, an 11-year-old girl from South Los Angeles with a knack for spelling. With the help and encouragement of an English teacher, Akeela enters the National Spelling Bee in hopes that she’ll win first place. Palmer, Bassett and Fishburne all give stellar performances in this inspiring film.

4. The Photograph (2020)

  • Cast: Issa Rae, Lakeith Stanfield, Chanté Adams
  • Rating: PG-13

Insecure's Issa Rae teams up with Lakeith Stanfield for a feel-good romance that will definitely leave you smiling. In the movie, a journalist named Michael Block takes an interest in the life of a late photographer named Christina Eames. But as he investigates her life, he crosses paths with her daughter, Mae, and the two fall in love. It's simple, it's sweet and it's the ideal flick to help you to unwind.

5. Sylvie's Love (2020)

  • Cast: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Eva Longoria
  • Rating: PG-13

Much like The Photograph, Sylvie's Love is the kind of Black love story that gives you all the feels, minus the trauma. Set in 1962, the film follows Sylvie Parker, an aspiring filmmaker who meets and falls in love with a saxophonist, Robert Halloway. However, due to bad timing and constant career changes, the two find it challenging to maintain a lasting relationship. From the smooth jazz tunes to the gorgeous cinematography, this movie won't disappoint.

6. Sister Act (1992)

  • Cast: Whoopi Goldberg
  • Rating: PG

Easily one of Goldberg's best movies, Sister Act follows Deloris Van Cartier, a young singer who's forced to relocate to California and pose as a nun after witnessing a dangerous crime. Once she gets settled in at Saint Katherine's Convent, Deloris is assigned to lead the convent's choir, which she turns into a hugely successful act. Sure, the plot sounds a bit silly, but Goldberg will definitely pull you in with her humor and positive energy. (FYI, the film's follow-up, Sister Act 2, is equally brilliant.)

7. Coming to America (1988)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Paul Bates, Garcelle Beauvais
  • Rating: R

Whether you're watching it for the first time or for the millionth time, Coming to America will always be a laugh riot. The movie centers on Akeem Joffer, an African prince who's determined to avoid an arranged marriage and find his own bride. Together with his BFF, Semmi, Akeem heads to New York in hopes of finding true love.

8. Brown Sugar (2002)

  • Cast: Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Mos Def, Nicole Ari Parker, Boris Kodjoe, Queen Latifah
  • Rating: PG-13

Childhood besties Andre Ellis and Sidney Shaw have a shared passion for hip-hop. And as adults, they both have established careers in the industry. However, their friendship takes an interesting turn when they realize they have feelings for each other—and you can't help but root for them.

9. Black Panther (2018)

  • Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright
  • Rating: PG-13

The Academy Award-winning superhero film is actually the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time, and considering its cultural impact, it's easy to see why. The film centers on King T'Challa, who inherits the throne in the African nation of Wakanda after the passing of his father. But when an enemy comes and threatens to take his place, conflict arises, and the nation's safety is put at risk. It's impossible to watch this without wanting to chant "Wakanda Forever!"

10. The Wiz (1978)

  • Cast: Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross
  • Rating: G

Join Dorothy and the gang as they ease on down the yellow brick road (and sing some catchy tunes while they're at it). In this musical, Ross takes on the lead role of Dorothy, a Harlem teacher who's magically transported to the Land of Oz. After accidentally killing the Wicked Witch of the East, Dorothy and her new friends set out to meet a mysterious wizard who can help her return home.

11. Queen of Katwe (2016)

  • Cast: David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, Madina Nalwanga
  • Rating: PG

Ten-year-old Phiona lives in the slums with her family in Kampala, Uganda. But when she learns to play chess and quickly masters it, she's given a rare opportunity to get her family out of poverty. Inspired by true events, this film isn't your typical rags-to-riches story. It paints an honest portrait of the struggles of poverty, but it also empowers young girls to overcome their biggest challenges.

12. Drumline (2002)

  • Cast: Zoe Saldaña, Leonard Roberts, Orlando Jones, Jason Weaver
  • Rating: PG-13

We love a compelling coming-of-age story—especially when there are marching bands and dancers involved. In the movie, recent high school grad Devon Miles lands a full scholarship to Atlanta A&T University, thanks to his impressive drumming skills. But Devon's fish-out-of-water experience—and his newfound rivalry with the leader of the drummers—makes it difficult for him to adjust.

13. Roll Bounce (2005)

  • Cast: Bow Wow, Nick Cannon, Meagan Good, Brandon T. Jackson
  • Rating: PG-13

Bow Wow is Xavier, a Chicago-based teen and talented roller skater who dominates the local skating rink with his friends. However, when this location shuts down, they're forced to go to Sweetwater Roller Rink. Unbeknownst to them, this upscale spot is ruled by another skilled group of skaters, and Xavier and his pals must prove they have what it takes to become the new champions.

14. Jumping the Broom (2011)

  • Cast: Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Mike Epps
  • Rating: PG-13

When Sabrina, a successful corporate lawyer, meets Jason, they instantly hit it off and have a whirlwind romance. After getting engaged, the couple are tasked with introducing their families for the first time, but thanks to their different backgrounds and traditions, awkwardness ensues. The film tackles important themes like race, class and prejudice with light-hearted humor.

15. Southside with You (2016)

  • Cast: Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Jerod Haynes
  • Rating: PG-13

If you've ever wondered how former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, struck up their romance, this heartwarming tale will give you an idea. In Richard Tanne's directorial debut, a much younger Barack makes the first move and asks his supervisor, Michelle, out on their first date in the summer of 1989. Hopeless romantics will appreciate the engaging dialogue and solid chemistry between Sumpter and Sawyers.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...