In years past, one could find a Black History Month event in almost any corner of culture. But with the Omicron virus wreaking havoc on our nation, it has become progressively harder to have a meet-up to celebrate Black excellence in person.
But thanks to streaming services, platforms that have taken over how people consume content in the privacy of their own homes, people can celebrate BHM with the flick of a remote control.
Check out ten must-see movies, spanning generations of cinema noir, that are available all February on Philo.
- Janet. (2022)
An intimate and unfiltered look at the untold story of Janet Jackson filmed over the spawn of three years featuring archival footage, never before seen home videos, and star-studded interviews.
2. JD Lawrence’s Malcolm, Martin & Me (2019)
Lucky is wrongfully imprisoned after a public uprising that left his brother killed. He wants revenge but is visited by two mysterious men, Martin and Malcolm, who take him on a historical, educational journey to find nonviolent solutions.
3. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, “Remember This House.” The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.
4. The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman (1974)
Beginning during the racial turmoil of 1960s Louisiana, 110-year-old ex-slave Jane Pittman (Cicely Tyson) grants an interview to a persistent journalist and relates the remarkable story of her life. Orphaned early, she toils on a plantation until a chance meeting with a white Union soldier named Brown changes her outlook. Jane’s emancipation marks only the beginning of an arduous and heartbreaking odyssey, framed by the horrors of slavery and the justice of the civil rights movement. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman stars the late Academy Award winner, Cicely Tyson.
5. Set It Off (1996)
After being fired from her job as a bank teller, Frankie (Vivica A. Fox) begins working at a janitorial service with her friends Tisean (Kimberly Elise), a single mother; Cleo (Queen Latifah), a boisterous lesbian; and Stony (Jada Pinkett), who is dealing with the recent death of her brother. The women are struggling with their finances, so they decide to start robbing banks. At first, the group is successful, but they soon attract the attention of an obsessive detective (John C. McGinley).
6. Marshall (2017)
Young Thurgood Marshall faces one of his greatest challenges while working as a lawyer for the NAACP. Marshall travels to conservative Connecticut when wealthy socialite Eleanor Strubing accuses Black chauffeur Joseph Spell of sexual assault and attempted murder. He soon teams up with Sam Friedman, a local Jewish lawyer who’s never handled a criminal case. Together, the two men build a defense while contending with racist and anti-Semitic views from those who deem Spell to be guilty. Marshall stars the late award-winning actor, Chadwick Boseman.
7. Fences (2016)
Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player but was deemed too old when the major leagues began admitting black athletes. Bitter over his missed opportunity, Troy creates further tension in his family when he squashes his son’s (Jovan Adepo) chance to meet a college football recruiter. Fences is a 2016 Academy Award-winning film starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Fences is written by the late playwright, August Wilson.
8. Moonlight (2016)
A look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami. His epic journey to manhood is guided by the kindness, support, and love of the community that helps raise him. Moonlight is a 2016 Academy Award Winning film directed by Barry Jenkins and stars Mahershala Ali and Janelle Monae.
9. Thomas Allen Harris, About Face: The Evolution of a Black Producer (2017)
As the AIDS epidemic in New York escalates during the ’80s, a young, out, black producer creates public television programs focused on HIV/AIDS, bringing folks who were previously ignored by mainstream media to the core of the public discussion. Despite the program’s success in breaking open the narrative of the crisis, the pushback Harris received from the channel’s executives and constraints of corporate media ultimately led the artist to suspend work in public television. 28 years later, Harris draws from these resurfaced tapes and an essay he’d written at the time: “About Face: The Evolution of a Black Producer.”
10. The Book Of Negroes (2015)
Kidnapped in Africa and subsequently enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata must navigate a revolution in New York, isolation in Nova Scotia, and the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, in an attempt to secure her freedom in the eighteenth century.
These shows and more can be seen on Philo. In addition to watching these movies on demand, you can also check out it 60+ top-rated television channels, including AMC, A&E, MTV, BET, Discovery, VH1, Food Network, History, Nickelodeon, OWN, TLC, Lifetime, Hallmark, Paramount, TV One, and more.