14 Movies + TV Shows To Stream In Honor of Black History Month

Black History Month is officially upon us, and I couldn't be more excited to celebrate the amazing contributions that people who look like me have made to education, politics, sports, and more, but particularly within my favorite industry: entertainment. 

The work of Black filmmakers, producers, screenwriters, actors and more have all kept me well entertained over the years. And if you couldn't tell by the focus of my blog, Black women in particular have had an incredible impact on me. It's for this reason that I wanted to celebrate their work this month and share some of my favorite movies and shows available for streaming now. 

From thought-provoking documentaries to critically-acclaimed films, here are 14 must-watch movies, documentaries, and television shows to stream for Black History Month (and really every other month of the year too).

1. Hidden Figures

Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae take us to space in this inspirational film based on a true story. In 1961, mathematician Katherine Goble (Henson) worked as a human computer in the segregated division West Area Computers of the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, alongside her colleagues, aspiring engineer Mary Jackson (Monae) and their unofficial acting-supervisor Dorothy Vaughan (Spencer). Together these three African American women would go on to become the unlikely heroes in launching astronaut John Glenn into orbit and putting America back into the Space race. One must-watch moment: the badass hallway strut scene led by Spencer. 

Now streaming on HBO

2. The Incredible Jessica James 

Even with a broken heart and a stack full of rejection letters, no one can keep this dope queen down. Starring 2 Dope Queens' Jessica Williams, The Incredible Jessica James follows an aspiring playwright who tries to balance her lackluster love life with her career pipe dreams. If you've ever thought adult-ing is hard and are looking for a fun illustration of the struggle, check this Netflix original out. 

Now streaming on Netflix

3. Step

Prepare to be inspired. This documentary follows the senior year of an inner-city Baltimore, all girls’ high-school step dance team. With all the odds stacked against them, each of the main three girls tries to become the first in their families to attend college, while also striving to lead their team to step competition victory. Spoiler alert: they all do and get ready to shed some tears. 

Now streaming on Hulu

4. Insecure

Showing out for all the awkward black girls out there, actress and writer Issa Rae stars as Issa Dee, who struggles to navigate the tricky professional and personal terrain of Los Angeles along with her lawyer, best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji), who has some love struggles of her own. Their witty repertoire will have you rolling, and their true-to-life situations will have you shouting "this is me!" at the screen. 

Now streaming on HBO

5. Living Single

"In a '90s kind of world, I'm glad I got my girls!" This is probably one of the most beloved theme songs in Black culture, and the sisterhood between the four main ladies is something to celebrate two. Featuring an ensemble cast of characters, this classic TV show follows four best friends in Brooklyn; the career-driven, Kadijah; the comedically, naive Synclaire; the sarcastic lawyer, Maxine; and the selfish, but loving fashionista Regine. 

Now streaming on Hulu

6. Girlfriends

Before Tracee Ellis Ross made her mark on ABC's black-ish, she captured the hearts of many as the quirky, lawyer Joan Clayton. From dating to divorce and friends to family to relationships, Girlfriends follows Joan, Maya (Golden Brooks), Lynn (Persia White) and Toni (Jill Marie Jones) who constantly support each other despite their differing backgrounds, (and opinions!) learning about true friendship along the way. 

Now streaming on CW Seed

7. Queen Sugar

Natalie Baszile's book comes to life at the hands of visionary writer and director Ava DuVernay. Queen Sugar chronicles the lives and loves of the estranged Bordelon siblings in Saint Josephine, Louisiana who inherit a sugarcane farm after their father suddenly passes away. And in a town filled with racism and sexism, middle sibling Charley Bordelon sets out to build a legacy for her family with the Queen Sugar mill. 

Now streaming on Hulu

8. Grown-ish

Growing up my favorite things to watch were teen, coming of age shows and movies — The Breakfast Club, Pretty and Pink, She's All That.  And while I loved all of them, they didn't really feature people who looked like me or shared my experiences. Black women may have appeared, but served as nothing more than plot devices and sassy sidekicks. In this spin-off of ABC's black-ish, young people of color finally have a heroine they can look up to. And it doesn't hurt that her Gen-Z college adventures are ultra relatable. 

Now streaming on Hulu

9. Step Sisters 

Ever been curious about one of the historically-Black fraternities and sororities most publicized traditions (i.e. stepping)? Then this is the film for you. As a member of a Black sorority I've often got questions about the unique experiences they have. This film explores them with satire. In order to score a reccomendation to an Ivy League law school main character Jamilah agrees to teach a traditionally-white sorority how to step, much to the dismay of her black peers. While a little cheesy at times, it does a good job in my opinion of shedding life on what it's like for Black greeks at a predominately white institution and addressing cultural biases that people of all races hold. 

Now streaming on Netflix

10. Bring It On

"When you go to nationals, bring it. Don't slack off because you feel sorry for us. That way, when we beat you, we'll know it's because we're better." The delivery of that line by Gabrielle Union always gives me chills. Well, that line and just about every other one she says in this cheer classic. Union plays Isis, captain of the East Compton Clovers, who encounters the remorseful captain of the team that's been stealing their routines for years. In addition to the sassy clapbacks and cheer routines, watch this for quick lesson on cultural appropriation. 

Now streaming on Netflix

11. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Based on the best-selling nonfiction book of the same name, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks chronicles Deborah Lacks’ (Oprah) search to learn about the mother she never knew and how the unauthorized harvesting of her cancerous cells led to medical breakthroughs.

Now streaming on HBO

12. Southside With You

*In my Kanye West voice* Yo, Melania, imma let you finish but Michelle Obama is the greatest First Lady of all time.  Before Michelle was hanging with Beyonce, fighting for the education of girls, or inspiring everyone to get moving in the White House, she was a young lawyer on the Southside of Chicago. Here, she met then-future Barack Obama and this sweet movie is all about their first date. The love story of the nation's first Black President and First Lady available to stream during BHM? Double swoon. 

Now streaming on Netflix

13. 4 Little Girls 

On September 15, 1963, a bomb planted by the KKK destroyed a Black church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls who were there for Sunday school. This crime shocked the nation and became a defining moment in the civil-rights movement. This documentary re-examines the full story of the bombing, while also honoring the victims Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair. 

Now streaming on HBO

14. Confirmation

Kerry Washington takes a break from slaying the political scene in Scandal to play Anita Hill, a U.S. attorney who alleged she was sexually harassed by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991. Long before #MeToo this inspiring story told from Anita Hill's prospective gives a look inside the hearings that brought the country to a standstill and became a pivotal moment in American culture and addressing sexual harrassment in the workplace. 

Now streaming on HBO

Have you seen any of these films? Let me hear what you thought about them in the comments!