15 Movies Every Black Woman Needs to See

15 Movies Every Black Woman Needs to See

If Solange's new album has taught us anything, it's "some shit is for us." Here are the movies that you need to know a modern Black female.

Published October 7, 2016

  1. Action
    (Photo: 20th Century Fox)

    From old favorites to lesser-known gems, each of these fantastic movies centers on Black women and girls. Get ready to binge!

  2. Imitation Of Life (1959)
    (Photo: Universal Studios)

    Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner feature as a mother and daughter, the latter of whom is intent on passing as a white woman and denying her ties to her mother. This is the second—and most highly regarded—version of this film.

  3. THE COLOR PURPLE (1985)
    (Photo: Amblin Entertainment)

    Whoopi Goldberg turns in a stirring performance as “Celie” in this film adaptation of Alice Walker’s epistolary novel of the same name, which chronicles the life of a poor Black woman as she lives through—and ultimately triumphs against—domestic violence, incest, sexism, rape, racism and poverty.

  4. SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT (1986)
    (Photo: 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

    This Spike Lee joint follows “Nola Darling,” played by Tracy Camilla Johns, as she juggles relationships with three men. Despite a misguided act of violence, the film still stands as a groundbreaking moment in the independent film movement.

  5. DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (1991)
    (Photo: Kino International)

    Serving as a major inspiration for Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” Julie Dash’s lyrical, visually stunning movie about a multigenerational family of Gullah women that moves from an island off the coast of Georgia to the American mainland in 1902.

  6. What's Love Got To Do With It (1993)
    (Photo: Touchstone Pictures)

    Angela Bassett expertly portrays singer Tina Turner in this biopic that explores themes of domestic violence, spirituality and identity.

  7. CROOKLYN (1994)
    (Photo: Universal Studios)

    A Brooklyn family struggles and loves on each other in 1970s Brooklyn, as seen through the eyes of “Troy,” who is 9 years old at the start of the film.

  8. WAITING TO EXHALE (1995)
    (Photo: 20th Century Fox)

    Based on Terry McMillan’s novel of the same name, this film follows four women—played by Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon—as they work through their relationships, for better and for worse.

  9. LOVE JONES (1997)
    (Photo: New Line Cinema)

    From the soundtrack to the perfectly-cast leads—Nia Long and Larenz Tate—this movie epitomized Black love on the big screen for an entire generation.

  10. 4 LITTLE GIRLS (1997)
    (Photo: HBO)

    On September 15, 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. This Spike Lee documentary details the events that led to the deaths of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley.

  11. PARIAH (2007)
    (Photo: Focus Features)

    This Sundance favorite follows 17-year-old Alike (Adepero Oduye) as she struggles to embrace what being a lesbian means to her.

  12. AMERICAN VIOLET (2008
    (Photo: Cinema Management Group)

    Based on a true story, this movie stars Nicole Beharie as a woman who is swept up in a drug raid and opts to work with the ACLU to fight the bogus charges and take on a criminal justice system in need of a massive makeover.

  13. FREE ANGELA AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS (2012)
    (Photo: Realside Productions)

    This documentary delves into the details of the trial that made activist and scholar Angela Davis a household name for revolutionaries and conservatives alike.

  14. MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (2012)
    (Photo: Participant Media)

    Emayatzy Corinealdi captivates as a woman who is torn between waiting for her husband (Omari Hardwick) to get out of jail and moving forward with her own life—and a potential new boo, played by David Oyelowo. Ava DuVernay directs.

  15. BELLE (2013)
    (Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures)

    Come for Gugu Mbatha-Raw, stay for her career-making performance as “Dido Elizabeth Belle,” a biracial woman who was born in 1761 and raised in an upper class white family in England

  16. GIRLHOOD (BANDE DE FILLES) (2014)
    (Photo: Pyramide Distribution)

    Yeah, it has subtitles, but this French film is worth the watch. Follow a teen girl as she tries to transcend poverty and find her squad, to less than fantastic effect.

Written by BET Staff

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