Depictions of Black men on-screen have evolved greatly over the years, largely in how Black fatherhood is perceived in film. There have been a multitude of movies that elaborate on the positive attributes of Black fatherhood, not on just the absentee trope that we are so often used to seeing. This realignment of narratives helps to dispel the idea that Black dads are not present in the lives of their kids and within the greater community. Black dads are complex, loving people—just like any other folks—and it's about time the media at large displays this truth.

Below, are 6 films that beautifully show off the complexities of Black fatherhood.

Daddy's Little Girls

When a man becomes a father, every thing about his life changes and he must make a decision to step up to the plate or fall flat. This classic Tyler Perry film—starring EBONY January 2023 cover star Idris Elba—shows that single Black dads are capable of providing for their children but also deserve respect and a shot at real love.

The Pursuit of Happyness

When faced with tough times, what is more, important is the way in which one perseveres. Based on a true story, this film shows a father's dedication to pulling out of a tough situation in order to be an example for his child—and himself.

John Q.

There is no limit to how far a father will go to protect his child. John Q, played by the legendary Denzel Washington, refuses to let his son die from a heart condition and goes to great lengths to ensure that his son will live

Black Panther

Following in the footsteps of someone you deeply admire, like a father, is no easy task. Embodying the essence of his dad while trying to blaze his own path for his kingdom and himself, T'Challa is able to become one of the best leaders Wakanda has ever had.


You don't need to be a blood relative to act as a father to someone. In Moonlight, the film's main protagonist Chiron has the fortune of finding a father figure in Juan. Although Juan is not perfect, he shows love to a young Black boy who yearns for family as he builds a conception of his self-identity.

If Beale Street Could Talk

This film provides two unique portrayals of fatherhood based on the words of James Baldwin. On one hand, viewers are shown a father who seeks to raise and support his beloved daughter, especially when it is revealed that she is with child. Likewise, we also witness the story of a man who deeply loves a woman and is faced with the heartache of knowing he is physically unable to provide for his unborn child due to his false imprisoned.