You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

10 Films By Black Filmmakers to Stream Right Now

From classics like "Boomerang" to recent history-makers like "Atlantics," there's more than enough to see on the biggest streaming platforms.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover UsageMandatory Credit: Photo by David Bornfriend/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (7734188a)Alex R. Hibbert, Mahershala Ali'Moonlight' Film - 2016

Alex R. Hibbert and Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight”

David Bornfriend/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

At such an unprecedented moment in time, with more demand than ever for streaming content, the sheer volume of films across all the major SVOD platforms — specifically Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and now Disney+ — can make finding a genuinely great movie an arduous task. But what can be even more aggravating is when a sought-after title is not available on any streaming platform whatsoever. This is currently true for several consequential films directed by black filmmakers, and it behooves any major streamer to consider acquiring these titles for their libraries.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t major films from black directors available on significant SVOD platforms. Here are 10 titles that are currently available to stream on either Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu or Disney+, listed in chronological order. This list will be updated regularly.

“School Daze” (1987)

Editorial use only. No book cover usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Columbia/Kobal/Shutterstock (5876643e)School Daze (1987)School Daze - 1987Director: Spike LeeColumbiaUSAScene StillComedy

“School Daze”

Columbia/Kobal/Shutterstock

“School Daze” was inspired by director Spike Lee’s own experiences in a deeply entrenched, social-climbing fraternity/sorority system ,while an undergrad student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Much of tension arises from the intraracial conflict between the light- (“Wannabes”) and dark-skinned (“Jigaboos”) African-American students. Characteristically, Lee gave himself a juicy supporting role, playing a freshman who willingly endures the most improper of humiliations in order to be accepted by the “Wannabe” fraternity. “School Daze” isn’t neat, but what helps keep it all together are its thought-provoking themes, strong performances, and an infectious energy.

Available to stream on Netflix.

“Boomerang” (1992)

Editorial use only. No book cover usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock (1552878a)Boomerang, Robin Givens, Eddie MurphyFilm and Television

“Boomerang”

Moviestore/Shutterstock

An arrogant ad executive, Marcus (Eddie Murphy) has a reputation as a ladies’ man. However, Marcus gets a taste of his own medicine when a merger finds him working under the beautiful Jacqueline (Robin Givens), who has a similarly cavalier attitude about sex and romance. Marcus and Jacqueline become involved, but he is put off by her noncommittal approach to their relationship. Meanwhile, Marcus also begins to develop feelings for the pretty Angela (Halle Berry), who is more considerate than Jacqueline. Things get messy. A star vehicle for Murphy, who has the goods to carry it, critics weren’t too kind to it at the time of its release, but it’s aged well and is considered a black cinema classic.

Available to stream on Amazon Prime.

“I Am Not Your Negro” (2016)

I am Not Your Negro

“I Am Not Your Negro”

Magnolia Pictures

In putting together “I Am Not Your Negro,” director Raoul Peck mined James Baldwin’s published and unpublished work, selecting passages from books, essays, letters, notes, and interviews that are every bit as incisive and pertinent now as they have ever been. Weaving these texts together, Peck brilliantly imagines the book that Baldwin never wrote. In his final years, Baldwin had envisioned a book about his three assassinated friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. Peck’s film juxtaposes Baldwin’s private words with his public statements, in a blazing examination of the tragic history of race in America.

Available to stream on Amazon.

Moonlight” (2016)

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover UsageMandatory Credit: Photo by David Bornfriend/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (7734188c)Alex R. Hibbert'Moonlight' Film - 2016

“Moonlight”

David Bornfriend/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning drama is a moving and transcendent look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young man growing up in Miami, as he experiences the joy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality. His journey to adulthood, as a shy outsider dealing with difficult circumstances, is guided by support, empathy and love from the most unexpected places, including the local drug dealer, Juan. “Moonlight” is worth not only watching, but absorbing completely and contemplating afterwords. It’s a the kind of movie that lingers long after seeing it.

Available to stream on Netflix.

“Strong Island” (2017)

"Strong Island"

“Strong Island”

Netflix

More than 20 years after his brother’s shooting death on Long Island, filmmaker Yance Ford re-examines the case in this anguishing, personal documentary about racial injustice and family discord. In 1992, Ford’s 24-year-old brother, William, was killed during an argument with a 19-year-old white mechanic, who claimed he was acting in self-defense, and was never charged with the murder. William’s death has haunted the family since then, and Ford reopens this wound in order to provide context, address the fallout and find some measure of justice. “Strong Island” is a look into the family’s long standing suffering.

Available to stream on Netflix.

Black Panther” (2018)

Black Panther

“Black Panther”

Marvel/Disney

Marvel Studios finally gave the world the African superhero it needed. “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But his grit as king — and Black Panther — is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the rest of the world at risk. Directed by Ryan Coogler, “Black Panther” elevates the superhero genre to exciting new heights while telling one of the MCU’s most fascinating stories, and introducing some of its most fully realized and captivating characters, unlike films that came before it.

Available to stream on DisneyPlus

“Sorry To Bother You” (2018)

"Sorry to Bother You"

“Sorry to Bother You”

Annapurna

In an alternate reality of present-day Oakland, Calif., telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) finds himself in a truly weird, macabre world after he discovers a magical key to professional success. As Green’s career begins to take off, his friends and co-workers organize a protest against corporate oppression. Cassius soon gets the attention of the company’s cocaine-snorting CEO who makes him an offer that comes with a price. Boots Riley’s directorial debut is an outrageously surreal look at capitalism, corporate greed, and workplace dynamics. It’s an ambitious, thought-provoking, and very funny original work of cinema.

Available to stream on Hulu.

Atlantics” (2019)

"Atlantics"

“Atlantics”

Netflix

In Dakar, a group of construction workers abandon their work on a skyscraper in response to months of withheld wages. The group then seeks better opportunities as they take to the sea. At the heart of the narrative are lovers Suleiman and Ada, who must contend with Ada’s engagement to another man at the behest of her parents. A surprising and wondrous supernatural drama, “Atlantics” is Mati Diop’s feature debut. She crafted a fantastical blend of romance, socio-political commentary, and surreal dreamscape all in one, resulting in what is, above all, a tragic love story. The film flips the typically male-centric tale of Africans who undertake the treacherous journey across the Atlantic in search of better lives by telling a story that focuses on the women who often stay at home.

Available to stream on Netflix.

“Luce” (2019)

LUCE

“Luce”

Jon Pack

In this smart psychological thriller, an adopted all-star student and athlete’s reputation is called into question when he writes a disturbing essay for a history class at school, which he teacher finds very worrisome. This leads his white liberal adoptive parents to reconsider their impressions of their adopted black son. The film features a brilliant performance by Kelvin Harrison Jr., who captures Luce’s interior world and outward ambiguity with great depth, as the character struggles to carefully access the most socially acceptable version of himself. Naomi Watts and Tim Roth co-star as his parents in a film directed by Julius Onah, whose work challenges audiences to contend with their own ideas of privilege and power.

Available to stream on Hulu.

“Selah and the Spades” (2020)

Selah and the Spades

“Selah and the Spades”

Ashley Bean

Writer-director Tayarisha Poe’s feature film debut is set in the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, the Haldwell, where the student body is run by five factions, including The Spades, the most dominant, who cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and drugs. As the school year comes to an end, Selah has to contend with the reality that she will lose control of The Spades, with sophomore upstart Paloma making waves. The visually stunning film, which contradicts typical teen movie tropes, stars a young impressive cast of fresh new faces, including Lovie Simone as the titular Selah Summers.

Available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged , , ,


Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox