13 Movies to Stream on Hulu for Black History Month
Black History Month is such a joy to celebrate. It's a time to reflect on the amazing accomplishments of Black heroes throughout history, from legendary musicians like James Brown to modern-day activists like Angela Davis. Even better? We can honor these greats by reading Black authors, shopping from Black businesses and, best of all, binge-watching a variety of powerful films that offer insight into the Black experience.
From Harriet to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, here are 13 Black History Month movies you can stream on Hulu year-round.
Cynthia Erivo stars as the brave and inspiring abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. After escaping from slavery, Tubman makes plans to free a number of slaves through the Underground Railroad during the 1840s.
2. ‘Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am’ (2019)
The documentary offers insight into the life and inspiring literary career of Toni Morrison, who made history as the first Black woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Oprah Winfrey, Russell Banks, Angela Davis and Barack Obama appear in the film.
3. ‘The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman’ (1974)
Set during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, this film follows a fictional former slave named Jane. At 110 years old, she recounts the story of her life to a reporter.
4. ‘12 Years a Slave’ (2013)
Based on Solomon Northup's memoir of the same name, this heartbreaking period drama centers on Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black New Yorker who was kidnapped in Washington D.C. and sold into slavery in 1841.
5. ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ (2018)
Based on James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk, the romance drama follows Clementine "Tish" Rivers (KiKi Layne), a young woman whose partner is falsely arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. With the help of her family, she tries to prove his innocence before giving birth to their child.
6. ‘Do the Right Thing’ (1989)
Fun fact: This comedy-drama was produced, written and directed by Spike Lee, who also starred as Mookie. Set in a racially diverse neighborhood in Brooklyn, the movie follows Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito), a local who takes offense when the owner of a pizzeria fails to showcase Black talent in his shop.
7. ‘Crooklyn’ (1994)
Loosely based on Spike Lee’s own childhood, Crooklyn follows the life of nine-year-old Troy Carmichael (Zelda Harris), who lives with her parents and four brothers in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. After paying a visit to her aunt in the South for the summer, Troy returns home to discover that a family member is very ill, forcing her to deal with the possibility of loss.
8. ‘Amazing Grace’ (2018)
This musical documentary follows Aretha Franklin as she records her gospel album, Amazing Grace, at a Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972. It also features cameos by cameos by Mick Jagger, Sydney Pollack and Charlie Watts.
9. ‘The Wiz’ (1978)
Fans of The Wizard of Oz will enjoy this fun twist on the classic. A young Diana Ross stars as Dorothy, a Harlem teacher who gets transported to the magical land of Oz. After accidentally killing the Wicked Witch of the East, she sets off to meet the Wiz (Richard Pryor), the only person who can help her return home. Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and Ted Ross also star.
10. ‘Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston’ (2019)
In this film, we follow the career of Black boxer Sonny Liston, who rose to fame after he was crowned heavyweight champion of the world in 1962. Just eight years after his victory, Liston was found dead in his home from an alleged heroin overdose.
11. ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ (2016)
Any fan of James Baldwin’s work will enjoy this insightful documentary, which is based on the author's unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. The Academy Award-nominated film discusses Baldwin’s observations regarding the history of racism in America. It’s also narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
12. ‘Detroit’ (2017)
Based on the Algiers Motel Murders that took place in Detroit during the 12th Street Riot in 1967, this crime drama centers on the chaos that ensued due to civil unrest at the time. After the authorities receive reports of gunshots, rioters in the city fall victim to violent police raids, which only increase tensions.
13. ‘LA 92’ (2017)
The Emmy Award-winning documentary reveals how the controversial Rodney King verdict sparked outrage in the city of Los Angeles in 1992. It includes footage of the protests, the Rodney King incident, in addition to details on the murder of Latasha Harlins, which occurred just 13 days after King’s brutal beating.