Now that February’s Black History Month is underway, it’s time to grab the popcorn and snacks for an epic movie marathon. With films honoring the legacies of Black leaders and trailblazers, and others depicting beautiful love stories and a highly anticipated comedy sequel, these binge-worthy flicks are sure to inspire, educate and entertain.
Take a look at some of BET.com’s recommendations to celebrate Black History Month.
One Night In Miami takes viewers back to February 25, 1964, and follows professional boxer and heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali, known as Cassius Clay at the time, musician Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and NFL athlete Jim Brown as they all spend one night together in Miami. The directorial debut from award-winning actress Regina King, captures a story that shows the roles of the icons amid the Civil Rights Movement and the cultural tensions in the 60s.
Where to watch: Available now on Amazon Prime Video
Who would have thought that actors John David Washington and Zendaya could come together and create magic -- during the pandemic! In Malcolm & Marie, this Black and white love story takes place in the home of the couple and depicts Black love in ways that ultimately test the strength of their bond.
Where to watch: Available Feb. 5 on Netflix
Daniel Kaluuya stars as Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton in this highly anticipated film that tackles a seminal moment in American history. Told from the perspective of an FBI Informant and accomplice to Hampton’s assasination, William O’Neal (played by LaKeith Stanfield), the chilling portrait takes place in the late 1960s. Judas and the Black Messiah shows how the FBI targeted the organization and Hampton to eradicate the Black Panther Party by labeling them as a “threat to national security.”
Where to watch: Available in theaters and HBO Max Feb. 12
Directed by Lee Daniels, this story follows one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Billie Holiday (starring singer Andra Day). The film chronicles Holiday’s career while she is being targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics. Her controversial and powerful ballad, “Strange Fruit” put Holiday on the FBI’s radar because the song compared the bodies of Black men lynched in the American South to fruit hanging from trees.
Where to watch: Available Feb. 26. on Hulu
This limited-series, directed by Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins, is based on Colson Whitehead’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The nine-episode series is set to chronicle “young Cora’s (Thuso Mbedu) journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South,” an Amazon synopsis for the adaptation reads.
Where to watch: Available in 2021 on Amazon Prime Video
I Am Not Your Negro is based on the iconic novelist James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. The film, directed by Raoul Peck and narrated by Samuel J. Jackson, takes viewers through a powerful exploration of what it has meant to be Black in America.
Where to watch: Available now on Netflix
It has been 33 years since the original film Coming to America, starring Eddie Murphy as the African Prince who travels to New York to find his queen to be, hit theaters. Now the sequel of the Oscar-nominated movie has returned with a modern twist as Prince Akeem learns that he has a long lost son in the United States and returns to America for another epic adventure.
Where to watch: Available on Amazon Prime Video on March 5
Starring Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, Respect, tells the life and legacy of the Grammy-winning soul singer and civil rights activist, Aretha Franklin. The biopic peels back the layers of Franklin’s legendary career. Hudson, who was hand-picked by Franklin to star in the film, recalled in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the powerful singer hinted that she could win another Oscar for playing her in the biopic.
Where to watch: Available in theaters Aug. 13.
(Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.)