7 Movies to Stream on Netflix for Black History Month
February is Black History Month. And after the year that was 2020, we’re doing our best to further educate ourselves about racial equality in the United States. While there’s still a lot of work to be done, these films are a solid starting point to better ourselves for the future.
From The Butler to 13th, keep reading for seven movies to stream on Netflix for Black History Month.
1. 'The Butler'
This is the story of a White House butler, who served underneath eight U.S. presidents, from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan. The movie focuses on his decades-long career inside the most important building in the country as the nation—and he—faces monumental changes like the Civil Rights movement and Vietnam War. (Bonus points: It has an all-star cast, including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and Cuba Gooding Jr.)
2. 'American Son'
When their teenage son goes missing, an estranged, interracial couple is forced to reunite at a Florida police station in an attempt to bring him home safely as systemic racial injustice and prejudice continually get in the way.
The documentary’s title refers to the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in 1865. In the movie, filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores issues of race, justice and mass incarceration by calling upon scholars, activists and politicians to analyze how our prison system disproportionately affects people of color. Oh, and did we mention 13th was nominated for an Academy Award?
The year is 1958. A young interracial couple decides to get married, resulting in an infamous case that rocked the Supreme Court. Not only is it based on a true story, but if also offers a glimpse into the true years-long fight for interracial marriage rights.
5. 'See You Yesterday'
Meet two Brooklyn teenagers, C.J. Walker and Sebastian Thomas, who build a time machine in an attempt to alter the events of the past and save Walker’s brother, Calvin, from being shot and killed by an NYPD officer. The family-driven storyline is ideal for young viewers, who are interested in learning more about police brutality in the Black community.
6. 'I Am Not Your Negro'
This movie is based on an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin. Not only does it cover the history of racism in America, but it also focuses on the stories of Civil Rights leaders like Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Think of this documentary as the first step in a much-needed history lesson.
7. 'When They See Us'
When They See Us isn’t technically a movie (since there are four parts), but we’ll let it slide. The series is based on the real-life story of the Central Park Five, a group of Black and Latinx teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of rape and assault in the ’90s. The series illustrates how youths of color have faced an unfair disadvantage in the criminal justice system, making it a must-watch viewing for Black History Month.