When the array of companies – ranging from technology to F&B and beyond – boast diversity and equity, sometimes the verbiage doesn’t match action. However, Netflix got it right. The inclusion of the Black Stories category on Netflix showcases a variety of TV series, documentaries, originals, and movies that highlight Black talent. As stated on the Black Stories homepage: “Black stories are rich, compelling and complex.” Therefore, the roster of films and series crossing a wide range of genres offers something for everyone’s palate. This lineup is merely a snapshot of what’s presented under Black Stories and we’re sure you’ll find the perfect show or film to suit your mood.
Run Time: 1h 50m | IMDb: 6.6/10
Inspired by a true story, this Netflix film will have you in your feelings – from gut-cramping laughs to serious crocodile tears. Comedian/actor Kevin Hart plays Matthew Logelin, a widowed new dad contending with the ups and downs of fatherhood. It’s a story of triumph as you watch Logelin transform into a solid dad for daughter Maddy through growing pains.
Get on Up (2014)
Run Time: 2h 19m | IMDb: 6.9/10
This biographical musical drama chronicles the life of revered soul-crooner James Brown. Golden Globe Award-winning late actor and playwright Chadwick Boseman did a phenomenal job capturing the essence and personality of Brown. The all-star cast also includes Viola Davis as Susie Brown, Octavia Spencer as Aunt Honey and other notable actors. The film follows Brown’s rise from poverty to becoming one of the most significant figures in the music industry.
Seven Pounds (2008)
Run Time: 2h 3m | IMDb: 7.6/10
This tear-jerker follows the redemption story of Tim Thomas, played by Will Smith. Thomas, who has a life-altering secret, is compelled to fix his tragic mistake by changing the lives of seven strangers. Without dropping spoilers, this movie has unexpected twists and turns that will leave you speechless by the end.
Nappily Ever After (2018)
Run Time: 1h 38m | IMDb: 6.4/10
We’ve all either experienced or witnessed the following: A parent expects perfection from their child in every way. That is just the case with Violet, played by Sanaa Lathan, and her mother Paulette (Lynn Whitfield). Violet regularly straightens her hair to fit her mother and society’s perceived standard of perfection and beauty. After a series of misfortunes, Violet shaves her head and eventually discovers newfound confidence – but this doesn’t come without its share of hurdles.
What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)
Run Time: 1h 41m | IMDb: 7.6/10
The documentary opens with a quote from Maya Angelou where the title of the film is also taken, “Miss Simone, you are idolized, even loved, by millions now. But what happened, Miss Simone?” Directed by Liz Garbus, the documentary paints an intimate portrait of singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone. It combines previously unreleased archival footage, including diary entries and imagery, plus interviews with Simone’s daughter and friends. Simone overcame personal challenges in addition to that of the pressure coming with stardom during one of the most tumultuous times in American history – and the documentary captures all of this in a unique way.
Good Hair (2009)
Run Time: 1h 36m | IMDb: 6.9/10
Narrated and starring comedian Chris Rock, Good Hair takes a deep dive into how Black women have styled their hair over the decades and explores the ugly truth behind the term “good hair.” Of course, Rock adds his own humorous touch to the topics, while shedding light on serious takes on Black women’s hair and its’ correlation with Black culture.
High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America
1 season, 4 episodes | IMDb: 7.7/10
This docuseries, hosted by chef, writer, and founder of Whetstone Magazine, Stephen Satterfield, takes the viewer from Benin, West Africa to America to highlight how gastronomy stateside has origins rooted in Black American history. The name is based on Jessica B. Harris’ book of the same title, and Harris even makes an appearance alongside Satterfield in the first episode. You’ll walk away feeling enlightened and encouraged to do some deeper research on Black American cuisine.
Resort to Love (2021)
Run Time: 1h 41m | IMDb: 5.7/10
Whether this fim can make you chuckle or not is subjective, but you’ll for sure be won over by the scenery. Considering many of us are still not traversing the globe due to the pandemic, this movie acts as an idyllic island postcard. Singer/actress Christina Milian plays the main character, Erica, who performs at her former fiancé’s wedding hesitantly – amid her own music career breakdown. This Alicia Keys-produced Netflix original is the epitome of a vacay rom-com.
1 season, 9 episodes | IMDb: 7.2/10
Based on the 2015 comic book and a short film of the same name by Dennis Liu, this feel-good superhero series has all the elements of a delicious drama. The plotline follows widowed mom Nicole as she – you guessed it – raises her son Dion. However, Dion has superhuman powers that Nicole strives to keep as a secret from those seeking to exploit him.
6 seasons, 127 episodes | IMDb: 5.8/10
For all the millennials out there, this sitcom will have you going down nostalgia lane. R&B singer, Brandy Norwood, stars as Moesha. The show was ahead of its’ time in the 1990s touching on societal issues such as race, teen pregnancy, and other topics – all the while relating to the everyday angst and highs of being a teenager.