February is Black History Month, and with such a wide array of streaming options, there’s no shortage of options for learning about Black heritage and celebrating Black excellence.
Amazon Prime Video
Among the programming being promoted in Prime Video’s “Celebrating Black History Month” lineup are the new second season of “Harlem,” which follows four female friends from Harlem as they navigate their love lives and careers. There’s also the new original unscripted series “Coach Prime,” which chronicles Deion Sanders in his third year coaching football at Jackson State. Other noteworthy selections include Regina King‘s Oscar-nominated “One Night in Miami,” the acclaimed documentaries “My Name is Pauli Murray” and “I Am Not Your Negro,” the Emmy-nominated romance “Sylvie’s Love,” Spike Lee‘s “Chi-Raq,” the Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” starring Jennifer Hudson, the Oscar-winning stage adaptation “Fences” from Denzel Washington, who also stars in Prime offerings “Devil in a Blue Dress” and “Inside Man.” And refamiliarize yourself with classic sitcoms “227” and “The Jeffersons.”
The streamer’s “Celebrate Black Stories” collection includes the online premiere of the five-time Oscar-nominated “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” plus additional “Black Joy” selections like the Oscar-winning animated film “Soul,” the Beyonce music film “Black is King” that was inspired by “The Lion King,” the Oscar-nominated docudrama “Hidden Figures,” the Oscar-winning music documentary “Summer of Soul,” sitcom “Black-ish” and its spinoff “Grown-ish,” and the Black-led animated program “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” about the adventures of African-American teenager Penny. And don’t forget about “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s racially diverse reimagining of the United States’ founding fathers.
Their “Black Voices” highlights Black-led HBO programs like “Insecure,” “Watchmen,” “Lovecraft Country,” “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” “Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel,” and “I May Destroy You,” which represent a wide variety of Black experiences, genres, and storytelling styles. But that’s not all they have on tap. You can also see Spike Lee’s classic epic “Malcolm X” which chronicles the life of the civil rights leader. “42” stars the late Chadwick Boseman as the trailblazing baseball legend Jackie Robinson. Steven Spielberg‘s Oscar-nominated “The Color Purple” follows the life of a Black Southern woman over the course of four decades during the early 20th century. The Oscar-winning “Judas and the Black Messiah” tells the story of the FBI’s plot to take down Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton. The Oscar-nominated “Harriet” chronicles the heroic life of Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman. And the classic miniseries “Roots” tracks several generations of an enslaved family.
First and foremost in the “Black Stories Always” collection is “The 1619 Project,” the docuseries inspired by the New York Times project that attempts to reframe American history through the lens of slavery and its long-felt consequences. There’s also the first season of “Kindred,” the drama series about a young Black woman who is pulled back and forth between present day and a 19th century plantation. “Black Travel Across America” features travel consultant Martinique Lewis as she visits historic Green Book locations for African-American travelers across the country. The sixth and final season of FX’s “Snowfall,” about the 1980s crack epidemic in the Black community, gets started on February 22. And the third and final season of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” premieres on February 15. You can also watch the documentary “MLK/FBI,” the Oscar-winning “If Beale Street Could Talk,” the Oscar-nominated “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” and numerous classic TV shows from “Living Single” to “The Bernie Mac Show.”
In “Black History is American History,” check out the new “Bill Russell: Legend” documentary about the basketball phenom. You can also watch “You People,” the recently released film starring Eddie Murphy and directed/co-written by Kenya Barris about a culture clash between two families when a pair of millennials from different backgrounds fall in love. Culture critic Elvis Mitchell explores the history of Black cinema in the documentary “Is That Black Enough for You?” The history of slavery lives on in the descendants of an illegal slave ship in Alabama in another nonfiction film, “Descendant.” You can also see Ava DuVernay‘s Oscar-nominated doc “13th” about mass incarceration and her limited series “When They See Us” about a miscarriage of justice. There’s also Oscar winner “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Oscar nominees “What Happened Miss Simone?” and “Loving,” the James Brown biopic “Get On Up,” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” among many others.
The “Black Voices” hub includes films like the classic drama “Waiting to Exhale,” the biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” “Devotion” about the first Black aviator in Navy history, Justin Simien‘s breakthrough satire “Dear White People,” the documentary “Anita” about Anita Hill who testified against Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and the Oscar-nominated biopic “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” The short films “Bree Wayy” and “Lynching Postcards” shine a light on anti-Black violence, past and present. “Through the Fire: The Legacy of Barack Obama” explores Obama’s election and the impacts of his presidency.
Original programming in “Amplifying Black Voices” includes “Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power,” a documentary about young SNCC organizers who fought for civil rights in Alabama. “The Best Man: The Final Chapters” is a series that reunites the cast of the cult hit film franchise. “Bel-Air,” the dramatic reimagining of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” returns for its second season on February 23. Also featured on the streaming service are Jordan Peele‘s sci-fi thriller “Nope,” Spike Lee’s “Crooklyn” and “Clockers,” “Fruitvale Station” about a victim of police brutality, the Oscar-winning biopic “Ray” about musician Ray Charles, plus “The Hurricane,” “Beloved,” “Precious,” and much more.
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