Isabela Rocha
February 16, 2021

8 Movies About Black Women Who Made History

Black History Month is here! In light of this celebration, our MEDIAGIRLS team picked eight movies about Black women who made history. Get your popcorn ready! Your next movie night will be HISTORIC. 

  1. Queen Of Katwe (This film is rated PG.)

Queen of Katwe tells the story of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan national chess champion. Her chest conquest opened doors for her to take her family out of extreme poverty and get a scholarship to Northwest University, according to a 2019 WBUR interview

Available to watch on Disney Plus, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video. 

  1. Harriet (This film is rated PG-13.)

This movie tells the story of Harriet Tubman, an enslaved woman from Maryland who, in the 1800s, escaped from bondage, helped others escape, and served in the Union Army during the Civil War, according to the National Women’s History Museum website. After the Civil War, Harriet stayed active in the fight for the full rights and freedoms of American men and women, raising money for former slaves and taking part in the women’s suffrage movement, according to the website. 

Available to watch on Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, and Vudu. 

  1. Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (This documentary is not rated.) 

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise describes the life and career of Maya Angelou, an American poet, writer, actress, and civil rights activist. Maya’s most famous book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, tells the story of her childhood. For some of her inspirational quotes and more of her history, follow @drmayaangelou on Instagram. 

Available to watch on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and YouTube. 

  1. Hidden Figures (This film is rated PG.)

Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden–three mathematicians and an engineer, respectively–were part of the NASA team that took the first astronauts to the moon. Hidden Figures depicts these intellectuals’ challenges and victories while working in NASA as Black women. 

Available to watch on Disney +, Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video. 

  1. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (This documentary is rated PG-13.)

This documentary tells the life and career of Toni Morrison, an American writer, editor, and professor. Toni is known for telling rich and detailed stories of Black Americans and Black America. She won various prizes–including the Presidential Medal of Freedom–for her work, according to a 2019 TIME memoir. To see some of Toni’s inspirational quotes, follow @thetonimorrisonproject on Instagram. 

Available to watch on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, and Vudu. 

  1. What Happened, Miss Simone? (This documentary is not rated.)

What Happened, Miss Simone? tells the life story of Nina Simone, an American musician and civil rights activist. Throughout her career, Nina wrote songs advocating for the rights of Black Americans, the people she called “the important ones,” according to a 2014 New Yorker article. For more Nina, follow @ninasimone on Instagram. 

Available to watch on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon Prime Video. 

  1. Whitney (This documentary is rated R.)

Whitney Huston was an American singer and actress whose song recording of “I Will Always Love You” spent 14-weeks as number one on Billboards’ “Hot 100” list in the 1990s, breaking the record of its time, according to Billboard’s website. Whitney tells the raw and powerful story of the artists’ life and career. For more on Whitney’s memory, follow @whitneyhouston on Instagram. 

Available to watch on Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube. 

  1. Becoming (This documentary is rated PG.)

Michelle Obama is an American lawyer and writer who served as the first, Black First Lady of the United States. Becoming tells the story of her life and career from the South Side of Chicago to the White House. For more inspiration, follow her on Instagram at @michelleobama

Available to watch on Netflix.

Isabela Rocha is a Brazilian Journalism and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies student at Boston University. Her favorite book in this world is The Hunger Games and her favorite snack food is M&Ms. A 5-foot woman determined to change the world, Isa believes that women have the power to build a gender-equitable media, so she decided to take up that challenge by joining MEDIAGIRLS in the Fall of 2019.