When you Google African-American movies the top searches show films centered around slavery or Black pain. While these films highlight the historical trauma black people have undergone for centuries, it’s important to remember that Black films are more than trauma tell-alls. Black actors deserve the same opportunity as their white counterparts to act in films not centered around Black trauma. We deserve to see romantic comedies, coming-of-age movies, superheroes, and princesses on screen. Black History Month is here, let’s highlight 28 Black films streaming now that aren’t centered around Black trauma.
1. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Disney+)
In the first multiracial cast performance of the classic fairytale, singer-songwriter Brandy plays a Black Cinderella. Cinderella navigates life under the cruelty of her wicked stepmother. The movie includes performances from EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg and the late Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother.
2. Soul (Disney+)
Soul is Pixar’s first Black protagonist and fourth African-American film animated film with Black leads. After landing the gig of a lifetime, a New York jazz pianist (Jamie Foxx) suddenly finds himself trapped in a strange land between Earth and the afterlife. The film features voice animation from Angela Bassett, Questlove, and Daveed Diggs.
3. The Princess and the Frog (Disney+)
The Princess and the Frog is the story of Disney’s first Black princess, a hardworking and ambitious waitress Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) who dreams of one day opening the finest restaurant in New Orleans. Her dream takes a slight detour when she meets Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos), who has been turned into an amphibian by evil Dr. Facilier (Keith David). Mistaking her for a princess and hoping to break the spell, Naveen plants a kiss on poor Tiana thereby turning her into a frog as well. The pair hop along on an adventure through the bayous to seek the help of a powerful voodoo priestess.
4. Jump In (Disney+)
A teenager (Corbin Bleu) is pressured by his father to become a boxer but a local girl (Keke Palmer) introduces him to the very different sport of rope-jumping. Airing in 2007, Jump In is one of the few Disney Channel Original Movies with a majority Black cast.
5. Akeelah and The Bee (Peacock)
Akeelah and the Bee is the story of Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer), a young Black girl from South Los Angeles, as she finds herself immersed in the predominantly rich and white world of spelling bees. The movie features star-studded performances from Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne.
6. Let It Shine (Disney+)
A teenage boy (Tyler James Williams) hides his rapping from his family and friends. When his best friend (Trevor Jackson) uses his lyrics to get close to a girl (Coco Jones) he has feelings for, he must battle to win her affection. Let It Shine, launched household names like Coco Jones into stardom.
7. Good Burger (Netflix)
After starring in their tv show Kenan & Kel the duo – Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell star in the first movie together Good Burger. Two dim-witted teenagers Dexter and Ed (Kenan and Kel) try to save the old burger joint they work at from failing after the opening of a brand new burger restaurant across the street, which’s planning to put them out of business.
8. Friday (HBOMax)
It’s Friday, and Craig (Ice Cube) and Smokey (Chris Tucker) must come up with $200 they owe a local bully or there won’t be a Saturday. This hilarious comedy went on to produce two sequels Next Friday and Friday After Next both available to stream on HBOMax.
9. Beauty Shop (Showtime)
Beauty Shop is the story of Gina Norris (Queen Latifah) a hairstylist who moves from Chicago to Atlanta to set up her beauty shop. The film captures the familial bond that exists between Black women and their stylists.
10. House Party (HBOMax)
Hip-hop duo Kid n Play (Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin) star as two high school best friends. Play is hosting a house party when his folks go out of town but neither of them can predict what’s in store for them on what could be the wildest night of their lives. House Party garnered three additional sequel films all available to stream on HBOMax.
11. Sister Act (Disney+)
When nightclub singer Delores Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) is forced to take refuge from the mob in a convent, she ends up turning the convent choir into a soulful chorus. With a stellar soundtrack and comedic laughs, Sister Act spawned a sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit also available to stream on Disney+.
12. Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (Netflix)
Written, produced, and directed by Beyoncé herself Homecoming is an in-depth look into Beyoncé’s iconic 2018 Coachella performance. Homecoming marks history with Beyoncé as the first Black woman to headline the Indio music festival.
13. Black Is King (Disney+)
An abstract interpretation of the 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King, Black Is King tells of a young king who gets cast out as a baby and returns as an adult to reclaim his throne. Throughout his journey, the young man reconnects with his history and identity, making him feel even closer to his culture and people than ever before. Directed, written, and produced by Beyoncé, and supported by an all-star lineup of African-American musicians, fashion designers, and video directors, Black Is King is a celebration of Black people and culture in its truest form.
14. Joyful Noise (HBOMax)
An integral part of Black culture, is the church choir. Joyful Noise follows the story of two strong-minded women Vi Rose (Queen Latifah) who believes that a traditional style is the key to victory, but G.G. (Dolly Parton) thinks tried-and-true means tired-and-old. Vi Rose and G.G. must learn to put their differences aside to save their town’s gospel. Joyful Noise features musical performances from household names like Keke Palmer.
15. Roll Bounce (Starz)
In the summer of 1978, a teenager (Bow Wow) and his group of friends face new challenges when their neighborhood roller-skating rink closes, forcing them to visit a different rink. Roll Bounce features performances from Megan Good and Nick Cannon.
16. Nappily Ever After (Netflix)
When a perfectionist ad exec (Sanaa Lathan) experiences a romantic setback, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery that begins with a dramatic hair makeover. Nappily Ever After highlights the long constructed narrative that straight hair is deemed as more desirable in Black women versus their natural “nappy” hair. The film works to deconstruct this narrative by showcasing a Black woman receiving love and success while maintaining her natural hair.
17. Really Love (Netflix)
A rising Black painter (Kofi Siriboe) tries to break into a competitive art world while balancing an unexpected romance with an ambitious law student (Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing). With an entirely Black cast, Really Love is a romantic drama that captures Black people living everyday lives and falling in love without trauma.
18. The Photograph (HBOMax)
Mae (Issa Rae), coping with the loss of her estranged mother, sets out to investigate a photo she found while cleaning out her things, leading her to Michael (LaKeith Stanfield), a rising journalist. With intertwining love stories set in the past and the present, The Photograph tells stories of Black relationships and love.
19. Poetic Justice (Prime Video)
Poetic Justice tells the story of a grieving hairdresser Justice (Janet Jackson), who goes on a road trip from South Central Los Angeles to Oakland on a mail truck with her friend Iesha (Regina King), and a postal worker Lucky (Tupac Shakur) who she cannot stand.
20. Waiting to Exhale (HBOMax)
Navigating through their careers, family, and romance, four friends (Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devin, and Lela Rochon) bond over the shortcomings in their love lives. All of them “holding their breath” until the day they can feel comfortable in a committed relationship with a man.
21. Two Can Play That Game (Starz)
An arrogant career woman (Vivica A. Fox) plays a series of heartless mind-games with her boyfriend (Morris Chestnut) to “put him in line,” only to discover that he has a few tricks up his sleeve. Two Can Play That Game is a hilarious romantic comedy featuring costars Gabrielle Union and Anthony Anderson.
22. Beyond the Lights (YouTube)
Beyond the Lights tells the story of pop star Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), submerged in stardom with no freedom from her overbearing momager. Until she meets Kaz (Nate Parker), a young cop who works to help her find the courage to develop her voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be.
23. Love & Basketball (HBOMax)
Love & Basketball pairs childhood friends Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) who both aspire to be professional basketball players. Over the years, the two begin to fall for each other, but their separate paths to basketball stardom threaten to pull them apart.
24. Think Like A Man (Netflix)
Four friends conspire to turn the tables on their women when they discover the ladies have been using Steve Harvey’s relationship advice against them. Think Like A Man is packed with a star-studded cast from Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Terrence J, Gabrielle Union, Megan Good, Regina Hall, and Taraji P. Henson.
25. Brown Sugar (HBOMax)
Friends since childhood Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) and Dre (Taye Diggs), a magazine editor and a hip-hop record executive stumble into romantic territory. The world of hip-hop music serves as a dynamic backdrop to this engaging romantic drama.
26. Last Holiday (Showtime)
Introverted saleswoman Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah), is forced to reconsider the cautious life she has lived when she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Led to believe she only has a short time left, Last Holiday follows Georgia as she jets off to Europe to spend what she believes are her last days. The only thing missing from her new life is her longtime crush Sean Matthews (LL Cool J).
27. How Stella Got Her Groove Back (Prime Video)
How Stella Got Her Groove Back follows successful stockbroker Stella (Angela Bassett). She is so wrapped up in the day-to-day struggle of earning a crust, that she has forgotten how to really enjoy herself. Lifelong friend Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg) sees the need for Stella to take a break so she whisks her off on a trip to Jamaica. While on vacation Stella develops a romantic fling with Winston (Taye Diggs) reigniting Stella’s lust for life and launching her on a journey of self-discovery.
28. Black Panther (Disney+)
After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy (Michael B. Jordan) suddenly appears, T’Challa’s mettle as king and as Black Panther gets tested. He’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. With an almost entirely Black cast featuring household names like Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and more, Black Panther is a milestone for Black representation in superhero films.
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