A wonderful way to celebrate Black culture is to watch movies that feature Black talent and/or highlight their stories. Sitting down and watching movies with the family is a great way to spend some quality time, but this could be a great opportunity to educate your kids and family members about the importance of Black representation in cinema.
As part of Together We Rise, a 31-day package highlighting amazing Black people, experiences, allies, and communities that shape America and make it what it is today, we’ve highlighted some of the best family-friendly movies that you can watch with your family this month.
Black history movies for young kids (ages 4+)
Princess and the Frog – This Disney movie is a modern twist on the classic tale of the Princess and the Frog. Tiana, a waitress who lives in New Orleans, wants to own her own restaurant but eventually turns into, you guessed it!, a frog — and chaos ensues. She is the first representation of a Black princess in a Disney film.
Soul – This movie, another Disney film, highlights Joe Gardner, a music teacher and jazz performer, who is on a quest to connect his soul and his body after they get unexpectedly separated. This movie depicts some heavier themes in a family-friendly way.
Hair Love – This Oscar-winning animated short film features a Black father who has to do his daughter’s hair for the first time — and, in essence, teaches the daughter to love her hair and herself. It’s narrated by Blue Ivy Carter (Beyoncé’s daughter) and features Issa Rae as the voice of the mother.
Black history movies for older kids (ages 9+)
Hidden Figures – This movie based on a true story features Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, and Janelle Monáe, and highlights the vital role that three Black female mathemeticians played serving NASA during the Space Race.
Remember the Titans – Here’s another movie based on a true story, starring Denzel Washington. In Alexandria, VA, high school football is a big deal in the community, beloved by all — but when the school board forces and all black and all white school to integrate, their football teams face challenges.
Hairspray – Calling all musical lovers! This movie-musical adaptation is beloved by crowds of all ages for its catchy music and hilarious characters — but also shines a bright spotlight on the movement to integrate television broadcasts in the 1960s.
Becoming – This documentary from Michelle Obama depicts her experience touring her best-selling book “Becoming,” and gives an intimate look into her life and legacy.
A Ballerina’s Tale – Audiences can get a glimpse into the story of Misty Copeland, the first Black principal dancer at the New York American Ballet Theater. It documents her rise to stardom and examines the lack of POC representation in the world of ballet — and this documentary includes some really beautiful dance sequences too.
Black history movies for oldest kids (ages 12+)
Selma – This drama highlights the struggle of MLK’s movement to fight for equal rights. Because of the themes and some violence, it might not be suitable for young ones, but definitely a movie to show for your older tweens and teens.
42 – This biopic tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first Black MLB player in history. Jackie is played by the late Chadwick Boseman, also well-known for his role in Black Panther.
Harriet – The story of freedome fighter Harriet Tubman, played by Cynthia Erivo, explores the hardships and battles of slavery — and Harriet’s quest to lead slaves through the Underground Railroad to liberation.
Drumline – Nick Cannon stars as street drummer Devon Miles, who packs his bags from Harlem and moves to the south to pursue his education. But, his inability to follow directions and march to anything but the beat of his own drum (literally) puts him in some sticky situations while there.
Black Panther – This iconic Marvel studios movie features Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, who is returning home to his African nation, Wakanda, to take the throne as king and as Black Panther. But, of course, an enemy appears, wreaking havoc on Wakanda and putting T’Challa’s strength to the test.
Just Mercy – This true story depicts Michael B. Jordan as Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard graduate who heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned and/or not properly represented in court. This film centers around themes of equity and resilience in the face of racism and injustice.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham – The Watsons, a Black family, decides to take a road trip to Birmingham, Alabama. In the era of the civil-rights movement, the Watsons grow a sense of newfound courage and develop a stronger family bond while on their formative road trip.