Black joy. Black resilience. Black excellence. Black history is layered, rich and diverse. This February, in honor of Black History Month, Philo is highlighting its Black Experiences collection, a thoughtfully curated list of movies, TV shows, documentaries and specials celebrating the nuances of Black culture and lived experiences.
Here are some suggestions of shows to enjoy on Philo during Black History month, and beyond:
This biopic follows Young Thurgood Marshall as he faces one of his greatest challenges while working as a lawyer for the NAACP. Marshall travels to conservative Connecticut to clear the name of Black chauffeur accused of assault and the attempted murder of a wealthy socialite. Marshall would go on to become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice from October 1967 until October 1991. Prior to his judicial service, he successfully argued several cases before the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board of Education.
Becoming: Michelle Obama in Conversation
Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, sat down with actress Yara Shahidi for an intimate fireside chat and Q&A session. Michelle Obama covers the themes from her critically-acclaimed memoir Becoming and she also discusses topics from diversity and inclusion, and mental wellness with college students from across the country.
The 1992 American epic biographical drama film about the Black activist Malcolm X. Directed and co-written by Spike Lee, Malcolm X stars Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr., and Delroy Lindo. Washington depicts the famous activist and leader of the struggle for Black liberation. The film follows his journey from his imprisonment in the ’50s to his rise as a leader in the Nation of Islam. His tragic assassination in 1965 left a legacy of self-determination and racial pride.
Narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson, I Am Not Your Negro explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s recollections and personal accounts of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards and won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.
The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman
Starring the late Academy Award winner, Cicely Tyson, this film tells the story of 110-year-old formerly enslaved Jane Pittman. She grants an interview to a persistent journalist and recounts the remarkable story of her life from growing up on a plantation to her emancipation. Jane’s story is a heartbreaking odyssey, framed by the horrors of slavery and the justice of the civil rights movement.
Written by Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes tells the story of Aminata Diallo, who makes this same journey after she is captured by slave traders in Africa and brought to America. Aminata’s story illustrates the physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, religious, and economic violations of the transatlantic slave trade. The Book Of Negroes stars 2022 Academy Award nominee, Aujunae Ellis for her role in King Richard.
D. Channsin Berry’s Dark Girls 2 is a powerful documentary that explores the prejudices darker-skinned women face around the world.
The New York Times called Moonlight “One of the best films of the 21st century”. This Academy Award Best Picture winner stars Mahershala Ali and Janelle Monae. The movie is a glimpse into 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.
The docuseries celebrates the 40th anniversary of Janet’s first album. Touted as “the definitive story on Janet Jackson”, it was the top watched show in 31 states the weekend it aired. Tune in to learn more about one of the bestselling and highest-earning artists in music history.
Airing on Revry, About Face, chronicles the experiences of Thomas Allen Harris. As the AIDS epidemic in New York escalated during the ‘80s, Harris, a young, Black, and out man, produced a series of public television programs focused on HIV/AIDS, bringing folks who were previously ignored by mainstream media to the core of public discussion. Despite the program’s success, Harris faced challenges that ultimately led him to suspend his work in public television.
What are your favorite movies, documentaries, and shows to watch when celebrating Black History Month? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook, using #BlackExperiencesonPhilo.
Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.
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