Black History Month: 10 Recent Must-See Movies (& Where To Stream Them)

Black History Month takes place in February and those wanting recommendations for movies will be glad to know these 10 are streaming now.

Source: ScreenRant | Megan Summers
January 20, 2021

Every February, multiple countries around the world celebrate Black voices and experiences by observing Black History Month. Designed to highlight important people, events, and milestones related to the African diaspora, Black History Month is a longstanding commemoration.

As Hollywood reconciles with its shady track record when it comes to racism and representation in movies, more Black filmmakers, actors, and screenwriters are finally starting to receive long-overdue recognition and opportunity. The push toward making Hollywood truly inclusive is far from over, but streaming services are starting to follow suit by prioritizing films made by and for Black people. From documentaries to fictionalized biopics to plays adapted to the screen, a diverse array of Black Cinema is just a few clicks away.

10. Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) – HBO Max






Both LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya are receiving tons of attention for their performances in the biopic Judas and the Black Messiah. Coming to HBO Max and theatres on February 12, this Shaka King film tells the story of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton.

Kaluuya plays Hampton, and Stanfield co-stars as FBI information William O’Neal. It was O’Neal who gave up the information that led to Fred Hampton’s eventual death at the hands of the Chicago police during a raid in 1969, and the movie centers around O’Neal’s betrayal.

9. BlacKkKlansman (2018) – Hulu






Another biopic, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is based on the memoir of the same name by Ron Stallworth. John David Washington plays Stallworth, the first Black detective in Colorado Springs.

Set in the 1970s, the movie follows Stallworth and his partner Philip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) as they expose and infiltrate the local Klu Klux Klan chapter. Equal parts comedic and dramatic, BlacKkKlansman is a consummate Spike Lee joint.

8. Just Mercy (2019) – HBO Max

Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx share the screen in Just Mercy, an intimate examination of the criminal justice system’s explicit racism. Jordan plays real-life defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, an Alabama-based judicial advocate known for working with death row inmates.

The film tells the story of one of Stevenson’s first cases: Walter McMillian. Fox is riveting at McMillian, falsely accused of murder and condemned to death – unless Stevenson can overturn the charges.

7. One Night in Miami (2020) – Amazon Prime

Regina King goes behind the camera to direct One Night in Miami, which portrays a fictionalized meeting in 1964 between four iconic American figures: Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke. The men convene in Miami to celebrate Ali’s victory over fellow boxer Sonny Liston.

One Night in Miami is a strong debut feature film for King. Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr. bring these larger-than-life men to life with ease.

6. John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020) – HBO Max

Dawn Porter’s documentary pays tribute to the life and career of Georgia Representative John Lewis, who passed away in 2020 after battling cancer. Good Trouble tells Lewis’s story, from his days as a young Civil Rights activist to his decades-long stint as a Democratic Congressman in Washington, DC.

With its harrowing imagery, the documentary shows how the fight for racial justice Lewis helmed in the 1960s rages on into the 2020s. It also shows how Lewis’s legacy will live on for generations.

5. Harriet (2019) – HBO Max






Cynthia Erivo brings abolitionist Harriet Tubman to life in Kasi Lemmons’s acclaimed biopic. In the decades leading up to the Civil War, Tubman led enslaved people to safety by guiding them along the Underground Railroad, which brought them north.

Harriet amplifies the terror experienced by its titular character and those she worked to save. Tubman eventually became a spy for the Union Army, leading 150 Black soldiers in 1963’s Raid on Combahee Ferry, which freed 750 slaves in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

4. Quincy (2018) – Netflix






Quincy Jones is one of the most iconic 20th-century music producers. Quincy traces his long-running career, which includes producing nearly 3,000 songs and over 300 albums.

Jones is responsible for polishing and perfecting albums like Michael Jackson’s Thriller. This Netflix documentary is co-directed by Jones’s daughter, actor Rashida Jones, and Alan Hicks.

3. Dolemite Is My Name (2019) – Netflix






Eddie Murphy plays blaxploitation actor, filmmaker, and comedian Rudy Ray Moore in Dolemite Is My Name. The film gives a fictionalized retelling of how Moore developed his most iconic character, a street pimp named Dolemite.

Hustle & Flow‘s Craig Brewer directs Dolemite Is My Name, which includes one of the most performances from Murphy in decades. The film’s ensemble cast includes Keegan-Michael Peele, Craig Robinson, Mike Epps, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph.

2. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019) – Hulu






Considered one of the best American novelists of all time, Toni Morrison’s prolific career includes works that tackle America’s racist, slave-holding past using some of the most beautiful language imaginable. Using Morrison’s own words, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s documentary provides a sweeping overview of the author’s life.

The Pieces I Am is also full of images, collages, and music. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, the film’s straightforward style gives Morrison space to share some of her most compelling ideas.

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020) – Netflix






August Wilson’s beloved play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is based on the life of real-life blues singer Ma Rainey, who made waves in the 1920s. Ma Rainey set the standard for blues performances, and George C. Wolfe’s film showcases its subject’s ceaseless talent.

Viola Davis shines yet again as Ma Rainey, a character full of vitality who is unafraid to challenge the white people who want to capitalize on her talent. Chadwick Boseman, in his final role, gives an emotional and gut-wrenching performance as Ma Rainey’s ambitious young trumpet player Levee.



CLEVELAND, Ohio – January 26, 2021

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission is proud to announce that Cleveland has been named one of MovieMaker’s Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2021, ranking 14th out of 25 cities.

MovieMaker determined the winners using surveys, research on tax incentives and recent productions, and personal visits to most of the locations on the list, as well as the best available information on how they’re coping with the pandemic.

The full list of cities and towns — which covers both the U.S. and Canada – is below.

The GCFC pursues media productions and businesses that can make a significant impact on the local economy. They serve as a one-stop shop for local, national and international filmmakers, ensuring not only an exceptional production experience, but also repeat business. They facilitate permits, street closings and other public or private location logistics, as well as liaison with police, fire safety and municipal government. The GCFC offers filmmakers a database with photos and descriptions of 1,600 filming locations, union contacts, casting agencies, crew and vendors. From the biggest blockbusters, to single episodes of television series, Hollywood knows Ohio can handle any size production. Since 2009, over 150 productions have filmed in Northeast Ohio.

“This was obviously a very different year for our annual list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker — it’s a time of incredible upheaval, but also opportunity. Many in the film and TV industry are looking to change their way of life, and many cities and towns across the country are welcoming these storytellers with open arms,” said MovieMaker editor-in-chief Tim Molloy.

“Last year, we moved Los Angeles and New York City to our Hall of Fame, in the belief that their place in moviemaking was so secure that we should make room for communities on the rise. Little did we know how much L.A. and New York would suffer in the months to come. But their discipline and resilience will make them stronger in 2021 and beyond, as they lead movies into an era of innovation and invention.”

For the complete 2021 list of Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker — and complete details — visit

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) is the only nonprofit dedicated to driving economic development and job creation by cultivating a robust film and television industry in Northeast Ohio.

The GCFC relies solely on donations to continue to build a strong, sustainable film and media production industry that brings jobs and business to Cleveland. Click here to make a donation, or here to become a member!

Here are MovieMaker’s 2021 Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker.


1. Albuquerque
2. Atlanta
3. Austin
4. Chicago
5. Vancouver
6. Philadelphia
7. Montreal
8. Miami
9. Boston
10. Calgary, Alberta
11. Toronto
12. Dallas
13. Cincinnati
14. Cleveland
15. Oklahoma City
16. Memphis
17. San Diego
18. Baltimore
19. Portland
20. Washington DC
21. Kansas City, Missouri
22. San Antonio
23. Seattle
24. Milwaukee
25. St. Petersburg


1. New Orleans
2. Santa Fe, New Mexico
3. Pittsburgh
4. Savannah
5. Victoria, British Columbia
6. Providence
7. Tulsa
8. Richmond
9. Wilmington, North Carolina
10. Ashland, Oregon

MovieMaker is dedicated to the art and craft of making movies. Our 2021 list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker appears in our Winter 2020 issue, with a cover story on Regina King and her feature directorial debut, One Night in Miami. The issue is available on newsstands on February 2.

Support Cleveland Film in 2021 with Your Year-End Gift

2020 has been the year of the pivot.

This time last year, we didn’t know how challenging 2020 was going to be, but with YOUR generosity, we were able to pivot all of our advocacy, attraction and workforce development efforts online!

Thanks to YOUR support throughout the year, we hosted:

  • 6 Cleveland Film-Themed Netflix Parties
  • 3 Virtual Media Mixers
  • Music Box Supper Club Film Café
  • Between the Screens with Kathryn Hahn
  • Between the Screens with Patricia Heaton
  • The State of the Industry Discussion
  • Documentary Film Workshop
  • VoiceOver and Beyond with Nancy Cartwright
  • Behind the Story with the Producers from White Boy Rick
  • Between the Screens with Stephen Caple Jr.

And these were just our events!

With your help, we were still able to provide resources to crew, reaffirm our committment to equity and inclusion, offer training through our FilmSkills online learning program, and so much more. 


GCFC’s work to bring jobs and economic impact to our community is more important than ever.

On the #ClevelandFilm set of Hobby in October 2020. Photo by by Zac Popik.

Covid-19 brought production to a grinding halt in 2020. While it’s still severely diminished compared to pre-pandemic levels, the production industry is showing some signs of recovery. For instance, the UK recently issued a 30-day, nationwide lockdown with the exception of filming. Why?

Because the production industry’s strict set protocols and low cases of Covid-19 have proven to be effective.

Similar measures are being applied to film/TV production in the US. And when Hollywood swings back into action to meet the exploding, pent-up demand for content, Ohio stands to benefit from the enormous backlog of film/TV production.

Please consider making a year-end gift to our
Sustainability Fund to support Film Commission operations.

Your support will enable GCFC’s vital programs and services to continue through this crisis and thrive into the future.

Give Today

Want to give via PayPal?  Click below.





What to Watch: Films on Race in America

Warner Brothers earlier last week made the 2019 film “Just Mercy” available to rent free through June on digital streaming services, including AppleTV, FandangoNow, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, Redbox, the PlayStation Store, Vudu, Microsoft and YouTube.

Movies take us outside ourselves, transport us, open our eyes and minds, and invite us to empathize with others.

Through the medium of film, artists, newsmakers, historians and storytellers have been working to shine a light on race in America for decades.

In the wake of worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd, studios and streaming services are making many of these films free to watch online.

GCFC is pleased to share this information, as a resource for anyone wishing to become better informed about the experiences of black Americans.

Here are a few lists to get you started, and where to stream them.

15 Movies and Documentaries About Race to Start the Conversation, Good Housekeeping, June 11, 2020

Ava DuVernay’s ‘Selma’ and other movies about race in America are free to stream right now. Here’s how to watch, Desert News, June 9, 2020

Free movies about race in America to watch and learn from, LA Times, June 5, 2020


Storytelling as a Vehicle for Social Change

Source: Winston Baker

A film, song, speech, or novel can rouse emotions and spark change. Storytelling gives voice to the politically or socially disenfranchised. Art plays a vital role in teaching us about our past, defining our present and creating a better future.  So how can content creators, influencers and thought leaders utilize storytelling to combat social injustice and inequality?







Hear from Actor, Producer and Humanitarian Danny Glover as he discusses how we can create more meaningful change as an industry. Watch on-demand here.






Learn from award-winning Directors Catherine Hardwicke, Lesli Linka Glatter, and Rachel Feldman as they discuss their journey as female filmmakers. Watch on-demand here.

Support Cleveland Film on May 5th


The Greater Cleveland Film Commission’s (GCFC) work to bring jobs and economic impact to our community is more important than ever.

On #GivingTuesdayNow, your gift to the GCFC Sustainability Fund enables GCFC’s vital job training programs to continue through this crisis, and help Cleveland’s workforce thrive into the future.

We are grateful for your kindness!

Give Today

Want to give via PayPal?  Click the button below.

Film Industry Lends a Hand During COVID-19

Mister Rogers’ message about looking for the helpers during scary times couldn’t be ringing more true than right now. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” he said, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” As we’re all facing uncertainty around COVID-19, and when production work will return, it’s important to follow Mister Rogers’ lead, and “look for the helpers,” even look for the helper in ourselves.

IATSE Canada shared that their members are doing just that!  IATSE 873 members have gathered and donated 1,480 N95 masks, 10,000+ latex gloves, 60 protective sleeves, and 80 N95 respirator filters to #thePPEdrive to help the City of Toronto healthcare workers fight COVID-19. shared that the Costume Designers Guild is rallying members to sew masks for hospital works in order to deal with the shortage. Guild President Salvador Perez told Variety that he called upon local 892 and 705 guild members who can sew to begin making masks for the hospitals.

Variety also noted that several medical shows like Grey’s AnatomyThe Good Doctor, and Station 19 have already donated their masks and gowns to local hospitals in need.

The executive director of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, Cathy Repola, also called upon members who sew to take up their needle and thread for a good cause or to volunteer to deliver finished masks.

Behind the Scenes is a charity whose mission is to provide financial support to entertainment industry professionals who are seriously ill or injured. BTS has launched a free and anonymous online behavioral health screening program as part of its new Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative. The aim is to help provide people with resources for mental health support during this stressful time.

Have any other stories of the film industry lending a hand in this crisis?  Tell us about it!  Email Development Coordinator Juli Johnson at [email protected] so we can spread some good news and how others can get involved.

GCFC Response to Coronavirus in Northeast Ohio

As you are probably aware, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has declared a state of civil emergency in response to confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cuyahoga County, as has Governor DeWine in the state. This is to create the flexibility needed for the city and state to respond effectively in the coming days. Today the Governor issued a ban on events larger than 100 people. 

At the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, we value and prioritize the health and safety of our community, and are therefore postponing the public gatherings we had scheduled for March and April. New dates for our Spring Media Mixer and Stuntman for a Day Workshop will be announced as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we are open for business, the team is on duty, and we are here to support filmmakers, crew, vendors, members, donors, partners and the general public as always. We will continue to share film news and notices of jobs and training opportunities through our website, e-news and social media. And we are working to plan programs and events to bring to you as soon as it is safe to resume these activities.

This is a rapidly changing situation. For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health.

Questions for us? Please reach us at [email protected] or 216-623-3910, and follow us on social media: FaceBookInstagramTwitter and Linkedin.

Be well!

Don’t miss the GCFC Panel at Wizard World Cleveland!

Film in Cleveland: Past, Present, and Future  

Hear from industry experts, GCFC President Evan Miller, Vice Chair Jon Wagner, Production Coordinator Mike Wendt, and Ryan Kelly, CSU Film School grad and recent Executive Assistant on the Russo Brother’s film “Cherry.”

Get your Wizard World Cleveland tickets here:

Get tickets for Wizard World and support Cleveland Film!

Purchase your tickets for Wizard World Cleveland through our link, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Greater Cleveland Film Commission!

When you use our link, you’ll receive a FREE signed photograph of a celebrity guest upon entering the convention!

Join tens of thousands of fans as they converge at Wizard World Cleveland to celebrate the best in pop culture. Wizard World Cleveland brought to you by the group who produces the most widely attending pop culture tour and has it all – Movies, Comics, Toys, Video Gaming, Games, TV, Anime, Manga, Horror, Wrestling, Original Art, Collectibles & More!

Friday, March 6, 2020 – 4:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturday, March 7, 2020 – 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, March 8, 2020 – 10:00am – 4:00pm

• All Admissions gain entry to Wizard World Cleveland 2020.
• Important: Bring your printed e-Admissions to the event to gain admittance.
• Up to 2 Children 10 and under get in FREE when accompanied by a paid adult.
• Admission will not be refunded.
• Admissions that are purchased from unauthorized websites (sites such as craigslist, eBay, StubHub, etc.) will not be honored for entry.
• Each admission is valid for the same person and may not be transferred. If you remove or tamper with a wristband it will not be replaced and you will not be allowed entry.
• Credit card will be charged at time of purchase.
• All Admissions have a Cleveland Tax of 8.00% included in the fees.
• Autograph fees may be required for some guests.
• Talent subject to change. Admission will not be refunded due to Talent changes.


Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland
300 Lakeside Ave. E.
Cleveland, OH 44113

Can’t get enough Wizard World?  The GCFC will receive a portion of the proceeds from tickets purchased at our links for the following cities: