Black History Month 2020: Powerful films and documentaries to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime

30 September 2020, 10:40 | Updated: 30 September 2020, 10:44

A list of documentaries to watch during Black History Month
A list of documentaries to watch during Black History Month. Picture: Netflix

There are a number of great films and documentaries to watch this Black History Month.

October marks Black History Month in the UK, which celebrates the history, achievements and contributions of black people in this country and around the world.

While events and celebrations may look a little different this year due to the pandemic, there are plenty of things you can do to learn more about important black history that was not taught in schools.

And Netflix and Amazon Prime have a range of films and documentaries which deal with issues of black rights and racial struggles.

Check out our list of films to watch this Black History Month.

1. 13th (Netflix)

This documentary explores “the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States”.

It is titled after the thirteenth amendment of the Constitution which abolished slavery in the US and discusses the history of race relations.

2. Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)

This film tells the story of black soldiers who fought for their country in the Vietnam war, while African Americans were being oppressed at home in the US.

Read More: Black Lives Matter: How you can support the anti-racism movement through charities, organisations, books and TV

3. When They See Us (Netflix)

When They See Us is a series which tells the real life story of the Central Park Five, a group of five teenage boys who were wrongfully convicted in a 1989 sexual assault case.

It looks at the flawed criminal justice system and the way these boys were unfairly treated as young black boys.

4. Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story (Amazon Prime)

This is an American documentary television series that premiered in 2018 on Paramount Network.

The six-episode series tells the story of the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, and follows the rise of Black Lives Matter movement.

5. Dear White People (Netflix)

This film is a comedy, but it follows the racial tensions at a predominantly white Ivy League college in America and is told from the perspective of several black students.

6. I Am Not Your Negro (Amazon Prime)

Directed by Raoul Peck, this documentary looks back at black history and connects the Civil Rights movement to #BlackLivesMatter.

The synopsis reads: "It questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond."

7. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Netflix)

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson follows the life of the trans activist Marsha P. Johnson who was a powerful figure in the gay liberation movement.

It uses old interviews with Marsha, and new interviews with family, friends and fellow activists.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. Picture: Netflix

8. LA 92 (Netflix)

This outlines the riots in LA in 1992, which were sparked by the beating of motorist Rodney King by police officers.

9. Paris is Burning (Netflix)

Paris is Burning was filmed in the 1980s and explores the ballroom scene in New York City, following the Black performers who were part of it.

Interviews with drag queens and ball contestants open conversations around gender, race, class, and sexuality in their communities.

10. Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise (Amazon Prime)

This four-hour series sees Henry Louis Gates, Jr. embark on a deeply personal journey through the last fifty years of African American history.

11. Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement (Netflix)

This documentary follows the recent evolution of the BLM movement through interviews with local activists, protestors and scholars.