From The Butler to Becoming to Homecoming, These Are the 41 Best Black Movies on Netflix

Films are a great way to get a glimpse into the culture, identity and history of a people. Whether for entertainment, education or inspiration, movies can provide a mirror to society and shape paradigms. In terms of Black history and the Black experience, film has played a huge role is informing and opening eyes. Sure, social media has played an integral part, too, in recent years, but even just in the past year, streamers like Netflix have made a push to highlight the Black experience more than ever before, by adding classic films and TV shows and premiering new ones like The Last Dance, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Da 5 Bloods. Here are the 41 Black movies on Netflix right now that showcase Black culture in some form or another.

41 best Black movies and shows on Netflix

Self Made

Self Made tells the story of Madam C.J. Walker, one of the first female self-made millionaires in America. It highlights her rise to prominence, and also showcases the lives of many other middle-class and upper-class Black Americans.

The Last Dance

The Last Dance is an autobiographical documentary that highlights the career of one of the most successful basketball players alive, Michael Jordan. This 10-episode series chronicles the rise of Jordan from the days of his youth to him becoming a legend, and the players who helped and hindered him along the way. It also offers a unique insider perspective of the sport itself.


Becoming delves into the inspirational life of America’s first Black First Lady of the United States. In this up close and personal documentaryMichelle Obama gives viewers the opportunity to get a peek inside her life, psyche, book tour and family via an interview with her daughters Sasha and Malia Obama.

Voices of Fire

Voices of Fire is a dynamic TV series executive produced by Pharrell Williams that showcases a major part of many Black culture and communities across the nation: gospel choirs. In this 6-part series, Voices of Fire provides a glimpse inside what makes the best, most successful gospel choirs, and why they are so influential.

Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker

Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker provides a behind the scenes look at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy founded by actress, dancer, choreographer and director Debbie Allen. Not only does this movie showcase an ethnically and culturally diverse dance studio and cultural trailblazer, it also highlights some of the cultural contributions of a woman who has made a major impact on American culture in the world of dance, film and television.

Related: Misty Copeland Talks Representation

When They See Us

When They See Us brings to light the real-life experiences of The Central Park 5, the five teens in Harlem who were falsely accused of attacking a White woman in Central Park and subsequently jailed. Directed by Ava DuvernayWhen They See Us highlights some of the racial bias and systemic oppression embedded within America’s judicial system.

The Butler

The Butler is a biographical drama based loosely on the life a butler, Eugene Allen, who worked in the White House for 34 years. The Butler provides some historical and cultural context for the Vietnam war, the civil rights movement and the social-political climate of America at a very pivotal time in American history.

Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé

Homecoming: A Film By Beyonce not only takes a look at all the work that went into Beyoncé’s 2018 Coachella performance, but it also showcases the potency and significance of Black college culture. From marching bands to fancy majorettes, Homecoming personifies the influence of Black culture on fashion, music and dance.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom brings to life some of the experiences of Ma Rainey, an influential Blues singer in the 1920s. Directed by George C. Wolfe and written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, this movie showcases an issue that many Black artists and creatives have dealt with for generations: Black voices and creativity being controlled by White gatekeepers and management. Chadwick Boseman glows in his final film.

We Are The Brooklyn Saints

We Are The Brooklyn Saints follows a youth football team in East NY, Brooklyn, one of the most disenfranchised communities in New York City. This documentary shows that for many inner city kids, being a part of a sports team is not just a hobby, it’s a family.

Related: The Best Black Romance Movies of All Time


13th provides a raw and honest look inside of America’s prison system. Directed by Ava Duvernay, this Netflix documentary really sheds light on the history of America’s racial divide.

I Am Not Your Negro

I Am Not Your Negro highlights race in America through the voice of writer James Baldwin. It features his novel Remember This House, and explores racism through the lens of many public figures past and present who have made an impact in reshaping America’s history.

Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History

Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History is a comedy highlighting the contributions of several notable Black figures in a fun, entertaining manner. Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History is informative and family-friendly.


Loving is a romantic drama that tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple in the 1960s that change the course of history in 1967. After their arrest for being an interracially married couple, they went through a legal battle that led the Supreme Court to overturn state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

The Black Godfather

The Black Godfather chronicles the life of one of the most influential people in film, television, politics and music: music executive Clarence Avant. Directed by Reginald Hudlin, the story of Avant’s life is told by the people who worked with him in some capacity. Avant was the mentor to many Black executives and his influence was quite vast, though many in the public don’t know of him. This film changes that.

Who Killed Malcolm X?

Who Killed Malcolm X? examines the mysterious details surrounding the murder of civil rights activist and leader, Malcom X. In this documentary series, historian and journalist Abdur-Rahman Muhammad takes a deep look into the details surrounding his death.

What Happened, Miss Simone?

What Happened, Miss Simone? is a biographical film about the legendary Nina Simone. The film highlights how the singer, pianist and activist was not just a woman with a voice and a platform. She was a force who used her influence to sound the alarm on social and racial injustices happening in the world.


Quincy explores the life of the musical genius Quincy Jones. Jones has had an influence in culture and music for over 70 years, and his creative artistry coupled with his business acumen has shaped many careers. This documentary gives access to his life, career and commentary from many who have been impacted by him and his work.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool features archived footage, photos and more on the legendary musician Miles Davis. This documentary showcases the jazz musician’s desire to break free from tradition, convention and norms. Through celebrity interviews, it provides a detailed look at his journey.

Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods tells the story of four Black veterans who fought in the Vietnam War in search of gold that they hid there while fighting in the war. Directed by Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods provides a sub-narrative on Black soldiers’ contributions and experiences in the Vietnam War, and the irony of Black men fighting in a foreign land for America, yet still coping with issues of disenfranchisement in their own country. It also is one of Chadwick Boseman’s final films.

Dolemite Is My Name

Dolemite Is My Name brings to the screen the life of the comedic legend, Rudy Ray Moore, portrayed by one of the current kings of comedy, Eddie Murphy. The film showcases how Moore used his personality, alter-ego and adaptability, and a colorful unique cast definitely makes this an interesting and humorous watch.

Time: The Kalief Browder Story

Time: The Kalief Browder Story tells the story of a young Black teenager, Kalief Browder who spent three years in one of the most dangerous prisons in the country, Riker’s Island, without ever being convicted of a crime. Directed by Jenner Furst, this six-episode miniseries brings to light the cyclical residue of system oppression, racial bias, the consequences of disenfranchisement and the injustices done to a teenage Black boy who was accused of stealing a backpack. 

See You Yesterday

See You Yesterday is a creative sci-fi time-traveling drama that showcases two Black teen science geniuses while highlighting the impacts of police brutality. Directed by Spike Lee mentee Stefon Bristol, this film creatively provides positive counter-stereotypes of inner-city teenagers. The protagonists in this film do not aspire to become athletes or rappers; CJ (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian (Danté Crichlow) aspire to attend a top historically Black college or university and have success in the field of science. In this timely movie, teens attempt to build a time-machine to go back in time to stop the death of CJ’s older brother.


Django stars Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel Jackson and Kerry Washington, and it manages to deliver some heavy themes—including the brutal treatment of slaves, the Black female body seen as a commodity, dehumanizing acts against the Black male bodies, colonized minds and more—with a pinch of comedy. And, in a peculiar way, it works. Director Quentin Tarantino packs a lot of history into this drama about a bounty hunter, a freed slave and a powerful Mississippi plantation owner.

Miss Virginia

Miss Virginia tells the story of a low-income mother who launched a movement that would change the educational system. Directed by R.J. Daniel Hanna it’s about the real life story of Virginia Walden Ford, a mother who was unwilling to compromise when it came to her son having a quality education. She fought to create change, and helped to create scholarship programs for at-risk youth.

Roxanne, Roxanne

Roxanne, Roxanne shows the rise to stardom of young female hip-hop rapper Lolita ‘Roxanne Shante’ Gooden growing up in the NYC projects in the ’80s. Roxanne, Roxanne does not shy away from the not-so-glamorous reality of an MC who paved the way for so many female rappers to have success today.

Giving Voice

Giving Voice is an endearing documentary about the annual August Wilson monologue competition and the multitude of high school students around the country that enter seeking an opportunity to perform on Broadway. It’s a very inspiring look at the legacy that Wilson left behind, and the fire that his work has lit in the hearts and minds of the next generation.


Barry provides a look inside the life of a young adult Barack Obama. It depicts his college days, his struggles with his identity growing up and some of the experiences that shaped many of the decisions that he made once he began to run for political office.

The Negro Soldier

The Negro Soldier is a 1944 propaganda film designed to encourage Black men to enlist during World War II. Facts about Black soldiers are explored as viewers learn about historical figures such as Crispus Attucks, Robert Brooks, Prince Whipple and more.

They Gotta Have Us

They Gotta Have Us is a very powerful and informational docuseries that highlights the history of Black cinema. It features a series of interviews from very prominent Black artists and entertainers who helped to shape Black cinema, and it also focuses on art, activism, race, typecasting and more in relation to Black cinema in Hollywood. It features candid commentary from the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Harry Belafonte, Laurence Fishburne, Don Cheadle and more.

Rodney King

Rodney King’s story is given new life through the voice of the incomparable Roger Guenveur Smith. Directed by Spike Lee, who has directed Guenveur Smith on several occasions, it tells the story of the horrific beating of Rodney King. The police brutality against Rodney King resulted in the 1992 riots and revolts against this injustice.

School Daze

School Daze is an ’80s Black classic. Directed by Spike Lee, School Daze gives a glimpse into Historically Black College life. Colorism, social divides, social activism, fraternities and sororities are all highlighted within this film, and the gaze of it is unapologetically Black, and showcases intelligent scholars in a raw manner.

Nappily Ever After

Nappily Ever After stars the lovely Sanaa Lathan as a high-profile ad agency executive who goes through a major life shift after a bad break-up with a boyfriend. After a hair salon visit goes totally wrong, she is forced to begin to re-examine her life and how she lives it. Nappily Ever After is a lighthearted romantic comedy that takes a look at how aspiring for perfection can be quite toxic.

She’s Gotta Have It

She’s Gotta Have It is directed by Spike Lee and centers on a young woman Nola Darling (Tracy Johns) who is struggling with holding onto her dreams and her three lovers. An independent artist, she battles with being true to herself and the expectations of society. 


Moonlight has been lauded as one of the best films in the 21st century. Directed by Barry Jenkins, Moonlight shed light on the experiences of a man through a lens that examines the major stages of his life from his childhood to young adulthood. This film gently conveys how emotional and sexual trauma can follow a person into their adulthood and beyond. 

Jumping The Broom

Jumping The Broom is a fun romance about how family can make or break a marriage—if you let them. A beautiful couple who truly love one another are set marry, but their families clash when they all arrive at the bride’s family vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard, where the wedding is set to take place. 

Burning Sands

Burning Sands shows a bit of the dark of side of what happens when hazing and college fraternity traditions go too far. While historically, fraternities and sororities were established to create a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood, Burning Sands realistically depicts some of the sacrifices and abuse that many college students endure to cross over.

ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke

ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke is a documentary that provides a glimpse into the life of Sam Cooke and his mysterious murder. The documentary is comprised of interviews from family members, friends and reporters and some archived footage.

American Son

American Son centers on an upper-middle class interracial couple in Florida as they await news about an incident with their teenage Black son. As they wait in the police station to get all the details, tensions rise and themes of white privilege, the construct of race, identity, fear and racial bias all rear their ugly heads.


Uncorked is a beautiful film that shows the balance that many struggle to maintain when reaching for their dreams while feeling bound by family expectations. This film also provides a refreshing depiction of a sensitive, skilled and astute man and his desire to be a master sommelier. Nuanced, counter-stereotypes like this are a welcomed delight to see on-screen.

Malcolm & Marie

The just-released film starring Zendaya and John David WashingtonMalcolm & Marie is a romantic drama that was shot entirely at the Feldman Architecture’s Caterpillar House in Carmel, CA during the pandemic. The couple face a reckoning as they address the fact they that are at very different places in their lives. The raw, sometimes hard to watch a depiction of a real love story takes place over one single night.

Next, celebrate Black History Month with these movies. 

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