- Charlene Hartman
10 Films to Watch During Black History Month
February is Black History month and to honor it, here are 10 movies to watch that aren’t about Black trauma. Although movies about slavery, segregation, and the Black struggle are helpful for those who need to be educated on the years of oppression, it’s still important to step back and remember that those films aren’t the only representations of Black people. They also deserve happy-go-lucky romances, cultural explorations, and goofy coming-of-age movies. So, if you're looking for a way to ring in Black History Month 2021, read books by Black authors, follow Black influencers, and check out this list of amazing Black films, minus the trauma.
1. Dope (2015)
o “Life changes for Malcolm, a geek who's surviving life in a tough neighborhood, after a chance invitation to an underground party leads him and his friends into a Los Angeles adventure.” This critically acclaimed movie can be found to rent on Amazon and YouTube.
2. Drumline (2002)
o “The screenplay, which was inspired by the Southwest Dekalb High School Drumline, was written by Tina Gordon Chism and Shawn Schepps. The film follows a young drummer from New York, played by Nick Cannon, who enters the fictional Atlanta A&T University and bumps heads with the leader of his new school's drum section.” This movie is filled with excitement and drama, it can be found on Hulu, HBO Max, and Amazon.
3. Friday (1995)
“It's Friday and Craig Jones (Ice Cube) has just gotten fired for stealing cardboard boxes. To make matters worse, rent is due, he hates his overbearing girlfriend, Joi (Paula Jai Parker), and with his best friend, Smokey (Chris Tucker) must come up with $200 they owe a local bully or there won't be a Saturday.” This chaotic comedy can be found to rent on Amazon and YouTube.
4. Girls Trip (2017)
o “Four best friends, known as the Flossy Posse, have grown apart over the years. Yet when one of the friends is offered an opportunity to be a keynote speaker at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, she decides to bring along her friends to turn her work vacation into a girl's trip. Along the way, they rekindle their wild side by dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to excess.” This hilarious adventure and star-studded cast can be found on Hulu, and to rent on Amazon.
5. Last Holiday (2006)
o “The discovery that she has a terminal illness prompts introverted saleswoman Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) to reflect on what she realizes has been an overly cautious life. So Georgia withdraws her life savings and jets off to Europe where she lives like a millionaire. Upbeat and passionate, Georgia charms everybody she meets. The only one missing from her new life is her longtime crush Sean Matthews (LL Cool J).” If you’re a sucker for a rom-com I recommend checking this one out! It’s available to rent on YouTube or Amazon.
6. Little (2019)
o “Jordan is a take-no-prisoners tech mogul who torments her long-suffering assistant, April, and the rest of her employees on a daily basis. She soon faces an unexpected threat to her personal life and career when she magically transforms into a 13-year-old version of herself right before a do-or-die presentation. Jordan will now need to rely on April more than ever -- if April is willing to stop treating Jordan like a 13-year-old child who has an attitude problem.” This fantasy-comedy is sure to lift your spirits. Catch it on Hulu, or for rent on Amazon and YouTube.
7. The Photograph (2020)
o “When famed photographer Christina Eames dies unexpectedly, she leaves her estranged daughter, Mae, hurt, angry and full of questions. When Mae finds a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box, she soon finds herself delving into her mother's early life -- an investigation that leads to an unexpected romance with a rising journalist.” Now, if you’re a sucker for a rom-dram then this one is for you. It’s available on Hulu, HBO Max, and to rent on Amazon and YouTube.
8. Poetic Justice (1993)
o “Still grieving after the murder of her boyfriend, hairdresser Justice (Janet Jackson) writes poetry to deal with the pain of her loss. Unable to get to Oakland to attend a convention because of her broken-down car, Justice gets a lift with her friend, Iesha (Regina King) and Iesha's postal worker boyfriend, Chicago (Joe Torry). Along for the ride is Chicago's co-worker, Lucky (Tupac Shakur), to whom Justice grows close after some initial problems. But is she ready to open her heart again?” Another romantic drama for those saps like me out there. This one is available on Hulu, Starz, and to rent on Amazon and YouTube.
9. Soul (2020)
o “Ever wonder where your passion, your dreams and your interests come from? What is it that makes you... YOU? In 2020, Pixar Animation Studios takes you on a journey from the streets of New York City to the cosmic realms to discover the answers to life's most important questions.” Another Pixar film that will probably make you cry, so have the tissues ready. This one is only available on Disney+.
10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
o “Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into the one and only Spider-Man. When he meets Peter Parker, he soon realizes that there are many others who share his special, high-flying talents. Miles must now use his newfound skills to battle the evil Kingpin, a hulking madman who can open portals to other universes and pull different versions of Spider-Man into our world.” A hilarious and fun action movie to fill your nerd heart. It’s currently only available to be rented on Amazon and YouTube.