Black Joy Streaming Guide -- How to Watch the Movies and TV Shows Celebrating Black Life

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Black Joy Streaming Guide -- How to Watch Movies and TV Shows Celebrating Black Life
ABC/HBO/HBO Max

Black History Month is a time to celebrate important Black figures, moments that pushed the movement forward, and causes that support and amplify Black voices. And while there’s no shortage of movies or TV shows that depict the struggle -- slavery, the Jim Crow South and other traumas the African American community has gone through -- it's important to shine a light on the many stories of Black joy that celebrate family, friendships, love and the complexity of life.

There's certainly a number of remarkable films, documentaries and series that explore all of that and more -- so consider this a sampling of a few of the very best that are available and ready to stream now.

From classic rom-coms like Brown Sugar to beloved comedies like Girls Trip, dramedies like Insecure (all hail queen Issa Rae) and cultural exploration shows like Pose, ET is celebrating Black History Month with films and television shows that beautifully showcase Black life, love and greatness. 

Films:

King Richard

King Richard
Warner Bros. Pictures

Starring Will Smith in a critically acclaimed performance, King Richard follows the journey of an instrumental father as he raises and trains two of the world's gifted athletes: Venus and Serena Williams.

Watch on HBO Max

 

Black Panther 

Black Panther
YouTube

One of the biggest cultural phenomena of the 21st century, Black Panther is the first Marvel film with both a predominantly Black cast and director. The late Chadwick Boseman stars as T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, who must step forward to lead his people into a new future. Along the way, he must confront a challenger from his country's past. The Oscar-winning film boasts an incredible cast featuring Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker. A sequel is in the works.

Watch on Disney+

Girls Trip 

Girls Trip
Universal Pictures

This hilarious comedy follows four longtime best friends, aka the Flossy Posse, who take a trip to New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival. Once there, they bust out their old wild ways of drinking, dancing and romancing. You won't be able to stop laughing while watching Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Regina Hall.

Watch on Amazon Prime

The Wood 

The Wood
Nicola Goode/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Omar Epps, Taye Diggs and Richard T. Jones star in this coming-of-age tale about three best friends -- Mike, Roland and Slim -- who grew up in Inglewood, California. When Roland goes missing on his wedding day, Mike and Slim struggle to find their friend before the wedding begins, all while sharing stories about the lessons they've learned during their awkward teenage years.

Watch on Amazon Prime

Brown Sugar 

Brown Sugar Sanaa Lathan Taye Diggs
K C Bailey/Fox Searchlight/Kobal/Shutterstock

Two best friends share a love of hip-hop, but are they destined to be together? Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) is a music critic, while her childhood bestie, Dre (Taye Diggs), is a successful music executive. They've supported each other all their lives, but when Sidney gets engaged, they realize they've been in love with each other all this time.

Watch on Hulu

Akeelah and the Bee 

Akeelah and the Bee
Lion'S Gate/Kobal/Shutterstock

Keke Palmer shines as Akeelah, a bright 11-year-old girl from South Los Angeles who is encouraged to compete in the National Spelling Bee competition. Despite her mother's wishes, and with the help of a teacher, Akeelah does what she must to make her dreams come true. Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett co-star.

Watch on Peacock TV

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Hulu

Starring Andra Day in a Golden Globe-winning performance, The United States vs. Billie Holiday follows singer Billie Holiday at the peak of her career, as she navigated being the target of a growing government effort to racialize the war on drugs.

Watch on Hulu

Miss Juneteenth

nicole beharie in miss juneteenth
Vertical Entertainment

Director Channing Godfrey Peoples calls Miss Juneteenth "a movie about dreams deferred." The coming-of-age drama follows former Miss Juneteenth beauty queen Turquoise (Nicole Beharie) who, after winning the crown years before, is now a hard-working single mother, guiding her teenage daughter, Kai (Alexis Chikaeze), through the same pageant. Her only hope is to give Kai a better future and life than hers.

Watch on Amazon Prime

Dope

Dope Movie
Forest Whitaker'S Significant Prods/Revolt/That'S Dope/Kobal/Shutterstock

Three geeky friends -- Malcolm (Shameik Moore), Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) -- trying to survive in a tough neighborhood go on an unexpected adventure after a chance encounter with drug dealer Dom (A$AP Rocky). When Dom hides drugs in Malcolm’s backpack, they must run around Los Angeles dodging a group of dealers.

Watch on Amazon Prime

Coming to America 1 & 2

Eddie Murphy Says ‘Coming to America’ Sequel Is Even ‘Funnier Than the First One’
Coming to America

Eddie Murphy stars as the wealthy Prince Akeem, who flees to America with his friend, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), to escape an arranged marriage. Disguised as a foreign student working in fast food, he sets out to find his one true love. James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, John Amos and Garcelle Beauvais co-star. The Coming 2 America sequel is also equally hilarious. 

Watch on Amazon Prime

TV:

Insecure 

Insecure 410
Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Issa Dee (Issa Rae) keeps it real. She may be struggling in her career, her love life and friendships, but she knows how to have fun and tough it out. Set in Inglewood, California, Insecure follows Issa and her best friends through the ups and down of everyday regular life. 

Watch on HBO Max

Grown-ish 

Grown-ish
Freeform

The spinoff to Black-ish follows Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) as she moves out of her parents’ home and goes away to college. This coming-of-age series explores the trials and tribulations of young adulthood, including dealing with drugs, sex and relationships. 

Watch on Hulu

The Chi

The Chi
Shaniqwa Jarvis/SHOWTIME

Based on Chicago's south side, The Chi finds kids and families navigating life, love, work and the challenges of growing up in one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods. The coming-of-age drama series follows a group of residents who accidentally become linked, but are then bonded by the need for connection.

Watch on Hulu

Twenties 

Twenties
BET

Created by Lena Waithe, this BET series explores the lives of Hattie (Jonica T. Gibbs), a queer African American woman, and her two straight best friends, Mari (Christina Elmore) and Nia (Gabrielle Graham). All in their, you guessed it, 20s, the three attempt to chase their dreams in Los Angeles as they try to figure out life, love and their careers. 

Watch on Paramount+ 

Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary
ABC

Created by and starring Quinta Brunson, the half-hour mockumentary-style series follows a group of dedicated and passionate teachers -- and a slightly tone-deaf principal -- at a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, are determined to help their students succeed in life. Though the educators may be outnumbered and underfunded, they love for what they do -- even if they don't particularly care for the school district's less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children.

The series also stars Tyler James Williams as Gregory Eddie, Janelle James as Ava Coleman, Chris Perfetti as Jacob Hill, Lisa Ann Walter as Melissa Schemmenti and Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara Howard. Brunson serves as writer and executive producer alongside Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker. 

Watch on Hulu

Black Is King 

'Black Is King': Inside Beyonce's South African-Inspired Fashion
Black Is King

With its breathtaking visuals, Beyoncé’s latest project enhances the music of The Lion King: The Gift. The film celebrates the Black experience, African cultures and roots, Black resilience and the importance of the Black family, specifically today's young kings and queens. The film features cameos by Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyong'o, JAY-Z, Kelly Rowland, Pharrell Williams, Tina Knowles Lawson, Blue Ivy Carter and others.

Watch on Disney+

Bruh 

Bruh
BET

Brought to you by Tyler Perry, this comedy is set in the same universe as Sistas and follows four 30-something college friends -- John Watts (Barry Brewer), Dr. Tom Brooks (Mahdi Cocci), Mike Alexander (Phillip Mullings Jr.) and Bill Frazier (Monti Washington) -- as they navigate their successful careers, dating lives and everyday life. A second season is in the works.

Watchon Paramount+ 

Pose 

Pose Season 2
FX

Set in the late '80s, early '90s, this groundbreaking series is all about the LGBTQ community of color, the legends, icons and ferocious house mothers of New York’s underground ball culture. After her HIV positive diagnosis, Blanca Rodriguez (Mj Rodriguez) is forced to confront her mortality and dedicates herself to leaving a legacy with the help of her friend, Pray Tell (Billy Porter), and her new House of Evangelista family. Pose features the largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles for a scripted series, including Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Hailie Sahar and Angelica Ross. 

Watch on Netflix

Atlanta 

lakeith stanfield donald glover atlanta
FX

Donald Glover leads this critically acclaimed dramedy as Earnest "Earn" Marks, a college dropout who takes control of his cousin Alfred's (Brian Tyree Henry) rap career as "Paper Boi." The two attempt to find success in the Atlanta rap scene. LaKeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz co-star. 

Watch on Hulu

Claws 

Claws
TNT

Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes, Karrueche Tran and Jenn Lyon star as five manicurists working at the Nail Artisans salon in Manatee County, Florida, who enter the world of money laundering. As they build their own criminal empire, people find out they are not to be messed with. 

Watch on Hulu

Love Life (Season 2)

Love Life 2
HBO Max

HBO Max’s romantic comedy anthology series created by Sam Boyd, returned for season 2 with an all-new installment about the ups and downs of dating in New York City. The season centers on Marcus Watkins (William Jackson Harper), a book editor who has the rug pulled out from under him after the unexpected end to a marriage with the woman he thought was the one and is forced to rebuild his life brick by brick. He finds himself unexpectedly dating again in his 30s, and caught in the web of Jessica Williams as Mia, who finds herself in a When Harry Met Sally type of relationship with the newly single editor.

The season provides a nuanced, layered and complicated story about a man trying to figure out his place in the world while navigating the ups and downs of dating in New York City -- some of which were very loosely inspired by Harper's own experiences.

Watch on HBO Max

All American 

All American
Erik Voake/The CW

This sports drama follows rising South Crenshaw High football star Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), who gets recruited by Beverly Hills High coach and ex-NFL player Billy Baker (Taye Diggs). After switching schools, Spencer finds out that life in Beverly Hills is very different from his life back home -- but still has its own problems. A spinoff is also in the works.

Watch on Netflix

For the latest content celebrating Black History Month, visit our Black History Month page, or read more in our Black Stories section. 

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