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Add These 28 Movies By Black Creators To Your Watch List ASAP

When you're scrolling through any of the major streaming services for something new and great to watch, it's easy to accidentally end up watching a string of movies directed by white men. They're still the ones directing most major films in Hollywood. But, if you are hoping to switch things up (and you absolutely should be), I'm about to make it very easy for you: Here are 28 great, recent movies by Black creators, including films directed by women and members of the LGBTQ community. We've even figured out where to stream them all for you.

There aren't as many films being released this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, so to put together this list of films you should be watching in 2020, we're looking back at the past five years in Black film. There are international picks, indie movies, blockbusters, comedies, documentaries, and a lot of Daniel Kaluuya. He's in everything!


Plus, there's a lot of variety in subject matter. In 2020, there has been a lot of necessary focus on learning about systemic racism and the Black experience in America, but enjoying Black films isn't just about getting an education. It's also about enjoying movies about Black characters living normal, everyday lives. Or planning heists. Or being visited by ghosts. Or doing questionable things with a grapefruit.

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Stream on Netflix

Who to watch for: Director Mati Diop. The French filmmaker became the first Black woman to direct a movie that was featured in competition at Cannes when Atlantics showed in the festival in 2019.

What it’s about: Socioeconomics and ghosts. A young woman's boyfriend goes missing when he and a group of other men travel by sea in an attempt to find work... and then things turn supernatural.
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Girls Trip

Rent or buy on Amazon

Who to watch for: Tiffany Haddish. The outlandish Dina in Girls Trip was her breakout role and the reason Haddish was everywhere for a while there.

What it's about: Four long-time friends get back together to go on a trip to New Orleans where they get into a bunch of wacky, raunchy scenarios.
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Little Woods

Stream on Hulu

Who to watch for: First-time feature director Nia DaCosta, who won the Nora Ephron Award when Little Woods premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

What it's about: Two siblings (Tessa Thompson, Lily James), who reunite during tough times — an unplanned pregnancy, a house foreclosure, their mother's death — in their small North Dakota hometown.
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Miss Juneteenth

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Who to watch for: Nicole Beharie, who stars in the film, and was previously best known for her role on Sleepy Hollow, and first-time feature writer/director Channing Godfrey Peoples, who was inspired by her own upbringing in Fort Worth, Texas.

What it's about: A woman (Beharie) who won the Miss Juneteenth as a teen in her hometown of Fort Worth, but didn't complete college with the scholarship she won. Now, she's pressuring her daughter (Alexis Chikaeze) to enter the pageant and fulfill the dreams she had.
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Queen & Slim

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Who to watch for: Director Melina Matsoukas. Queen & Slim is her first feature. She was already known for directing many music videos, including Beyoncé's "Formation."

What it's about: Two people, Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya), who go on a date and are pulled over by a police officer on the way home. Slim ends up killing the cop during a confrontation, and the movie follows the pair as they go on the run.
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Who to watch for: If it's a Spike Lee movie, you're probably watching because of Spike Lee. The iconic director won his first Academy Award in 2019 for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film.

What it's about: Based on a true story, the movie follows Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first Black officer working at a Colorado police department. He starts pretending to be white — with the help of a white coworker (Adam Driver) — in order to investigate a local Ku Klux Klan division.
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Black Panther

Stream on Disney+

Who to watch for: Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler. Two of the most striking things about Black Panther are its costume design and production design. Carter and Beachler became the first Black women to win the Oscars for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design, respectively.

What it's about: A superhero and newly crowned king T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who rules an extremely wealthy, extremely secret country.
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Who to watch for: Creed was the second of three times actor Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler worked together, so this gives you a necessary taste of their collaboration style. (The other films are Fruitvale Station and Black Panther.)

What it's about: The son of Rocky character Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), Adonis Creed (Jordan), is all grown up and has become a boxer himself.
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Creed II

Stream on Amazon Prime

Who to watch for: Well, if you enjoyed Jordan as a boxer in the first one...
Also, the sequel is directed by another Black director, Steven Caple Jr.

What it's about: This time, Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor (Florian Munteanu), the son of another Rocky legend, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren).
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Da 5 Bloods

Stream on Netflix

Who to watch for: Spike Lee, yet again. This film is his most recent one: Da 5 Bloods premiered on Netflix in June 2020.

What it's about: Four Vietnam veterans (Delroy Lindo, Norm Lewis, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr.) who travel back to the country to find the remains of their fallen friend (Chadwick Boseman) and find the gold that they buried there.
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Sorry to Bother You

Stream on Hulu

Who to watch for: Director and writer Boots Riley. This movie is so bizarre, unique, and thought-provoking, and he's entirely to thank for that.

What it's about: A Black telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) who uses a "white voice" (David Cross) to move up at his job only to find out that the CEO of the company (Armie Hammer) is into some extremely weird, uh, business ventures. The whole thing is no-holds-barred commentary on the ills of American capitalism.
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Stream on Hulu

Who to watch for: Kelvin Harrison Jr., who stars in as the title character. The 25-year-old actor had two breakout roles in 2019 with Luce and Waves.

What it's about: It's a thriller about adopted teenager (Harrison Jr.), whose teacher (Octavia Spencer) is either out to get him after he writes a disconcerting essay, or something else more troubling is going on.
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Who to watch for: Prentice Penny. It's the first feature from the director, who is known for producing — and writing and directing some episodes of — Insecure.

What it's about: A man (Mamoudou Athie) who wants to become a sommelier, but is being pressured by his father (Courtney B. Vance) to work at the family restaurant.
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Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé

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Who to watch for: Beyoncé. Obviously.

What it's about: This concert film/documentary is about Beyoncé's 2018 HBCU-inspired Coachella performance. It includes footage from the concert, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how the show came together.
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Night Comes On

Stream on Amazon Prime

Who to watch for: Screenwriter Angelica Nwandu, who co-wrote the script with director Jordana Spiro. You may know Nwandu as the founder of The Shade Room, but her own experience in foster care shaped Night Comes On.

What it's about: An 18-year-old (Dominique Fishback) who seeks revenge for her mother's murder and goes on the journey with her 10-year-old sister (Tatum Marilyn Hall), who isn't aware of what exactly is planned.
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Who to watch for: Viola Davis planning a heist.

What it's about: It's a thriller about four women who plan a heist in order to pay back a crime lord after some of their husbands die during their own attempted heist. Plus: plenty of twists.
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Who to watch for: Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, who star in this theatrical version of August Wilson's play. Washington also directed the film. Davis won the award for supporting actress at the Oscars and the Golden Globes.

What it's about: A family in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. The father, Troy (Washington), wasn't able to become a professional baseball player and takes out frustration about his own life on his son, Cory (Jovan Adepo).
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Get Out

Rent or buy on Amazon

Who to watch for: Director and writer Jordan Peele, because it was his first movie and it took the world by storm. It also won him an Oscar.

What it's about: A black man (Daniel Kaluuya) who goes to visit his white girlfriend's (Allison Williams) family and finds out that they are up to some very weird, very violent, very racist stuff.
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Who to watch for: Director Kasi Lemmons, who is also known for her 1997 film Eve's Bayou, and Cynthia Erivo, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her starring role.

What it's about: Harriet is a biopic about Harriet Tubman that follows her life starting with her escape from slavery and throughout her time leading other enslaved people to freedom.
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The Hate U Give

Stream on HBO Max

Who to watch for: Amandla Stenberg gives a great performance in the lead role. And a shoutout also must be given to Angie Thomas, who wrote the book the movie is adapted from.

What it's about: A teen girl (Stenberg) who witnesses the murder of her friend (Algee Smith) by police, and has to decide how react and how to speak out while simultaneously mourning him.
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I Am Not Your Negro

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Who to watch for: James Baldwin. It's a documentary based on the writer's unfinished memoir titled Remember This House. Also, director Raoul Peck, who was nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary for the film and won the BAFTA in the same category.

What it's about: Baldwin's ideas about race in the United States and his memories of the Civil Rights era and leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
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If Beale Street Could Talk

Stream on Hulu

Who to watch for: Kiki Layne and Stephan James are mesmerizing in the lead roles. It's also the follow-up to Moonlight from director Barry Jenkins.

What it's about: Based on a novel by James Baldwin, the story follows a couple, Tish (Layne) and Fonny (James). Fonny is jailed for a crime he didn't commit; meanwhile, Tish finds out she's pregnant. The film shows their fight to free Fonny and live together as a family.
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LA 92

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Who to watch for: Directors T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay, who won the Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking. Martin is also one of very few Black directors to win an Oscar. He won Best Documentary Feature for his Lindsay's previous documentary, Undefeated.

What it's about: The Los Angeles uprising that took place in 1992 following the acquittal of the police who beat Rodney King. It includes footage from the actual uprising, as well as related footage, including previous protests and statements from those in power at the time.
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The Last Black Man in San Francisco 

Stream on Amazon Prime

Who to watch for: Jimmie Fails, who stars in the film and developed the story, which is based on his own life. The movie is directed and co-written by his long-time friend Joe Talbot.

What it's about: A Black man who is trying to hold on the Victorian home his grandfather built in gentrified San Francisco.
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Who to watch for: Everyone. Director Barry Jenkins, screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney — who together won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar — all of the actors, including Mahershala Ali who won for Best Supporting Actor.

What it's about: The life of a Black gay man named Chiron, who begins the film as a teen. The film is divided into three sections that show each part of Chiron's life played by three different actors: Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes.
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Who to watch for: Writer/director Dee Rees, who became the first Black woman nominated for the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film.

What it's about: Two families in Mississippi after World War II, one white and one Black. Each family had a member go off to war and as the two men (Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell) return, they each adjust differently due to the racism of the 1940s south.
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See You Yesterday

Stream on Netflix

Who to watch for: Screenwriters Stefon Bristol (who also directed) and Fredrica Bailey, who had to balance sci-fi with the seriousness of someone being killed by a police officer. The duo won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay for their work.

What it's about: Two science-obsessed teens (Eden Duncan-Smith, Danté Crichlow) who create a time machine and then use it to go back in time to try and stop one of their siblings from being killed by a cop.
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Strong Island

Stream on Netflix

Who to watch for: Director Yance Ford, who was nominated for Best Documentary Feature for his work.

What it's about: The murder of Ford's brother, William, and how his family coped with the aftermath. William was killed at age 24, by a white 19-year-old, who didn't end up being indicted by an all-white jury after claiming it was done in self-defense.
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