This year may not have been the best but while we have been locked inside staying safe, it was another perfect opportunity to catch up on movies that have come out. Fortunately, a lot of these films have been made more accessible through their release on different streaming platforms. Here is a round-up of films either starring Black actors or created by Black filmmakers in 2021. Which ones have you seen?
The Harder They Fall, Netflix
Zola, Showtime, Amazon Prime and Apple TV
From writer/director Janicza Bravo, Zola’s stranger than fiction saga, which she first told in a now iconic series of viral, uproarious tweets, comes to dazzling cinematic life.
King Richard, available to stream January 4, 2022
Based on a true story, Warner Bros. Pictures’ King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams, the father instrumental in the life and legacy of sisters Venus and Serena Williams, two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time.
Candyman, Amazon Prime
Based on the original movie of the same name, Candyman is the legacy of the cult-classic film brought to 2021 and highlights an artist who unwittingly unleashes a wave of violence after learning the true history behind the urban legend of Candyman in this chilling film from Nia DaCosta and Jordan Peele.
Respect, Amazon Prime
Respect details the life and legacy of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and the challenges she overcame to shine her light.
Judas and the Black Messiah, HBO Max
Inspired by true events, Judas and the Black Messiah details the life and assassination of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton and the FBI’s attempts to silence his voice and growing impact.
Based on the book by Nella Larsen, a Black woman finds her world upended when her life becomes intertwined with a former childhood friend who’s passing as white in 1920s New York. Passing stars Ruth Negga and EBONY’s December 2021/January 2022 cover star Tessa Thompson.
Concrete Cowboy, Netflix
Sent to live with his father for the summer, a rowdy teen finds kinship in a tight-knit Philadelphia community of Black cowboys.
Swan Song, Apple TV
Swan Song is a futuristic depiction of love and life told through the eyes of Cameron (Mahershala Ali), a husband and father who is expecting his second child with his wife Poppy (Naomie Harris). When Cameron is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he is presented with an alternative solutions to protect his family.
Billie Holiday spent much of her career being adored by fans. Played by Andra Day, this film takes viewers back to the 1940’s and the government criticism and targeting that Holiday faced in response to her controversial ballad, “Strange Fruit.”
TINA, HBO Max
Through never-before-seen footage, audio tapes, personal photos, and new interviews, including with the singer herself, TINA presents an unapologetic and raw account of the life and career of music icon Tina Turner.
A Journal for Jordan, In Theaters Now (limited release)
Directed by Denzel Washington and starring Michael B. Jordan with a screenplay by Virgil Williams, A Journal for Jordan is based on the true story of First Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Jordan) who begins to keep a journal of love and advice for his newborn son.
Years after a humiliating defeat, an MMA fighter (Halle Berry) trains for one last comeback and shot at redemption in the MMA world and with the young son she left behind comes back into her life.
Summer of Soul, Hulu
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful documentary through music and historical recollection around an epic event that celebrated Black history, cultural impact and fashion surrounding The Harlem Cultural Festival.
Malcolm and Marie, Netflix
As a filmmaker and his girlfriend return home from his movie premiere, tensions, fears and painful revelations push them toward a romantic reckoning.
Coming 2 America, Amazon Prime
Set in the fictional country of Zamunda, the Black cult-classic film travels with newly-crowned King Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) as they embark on a new adventure that has them back in Queens, New York.
Space Jam: A New Legacy, HBO Max
NBA champ LeBron James and his son Dom are trapped in digital space by a rogue digital villain. To get them home, LeBron must lead Bugs Bunny and the whole gang of undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory. Sound slightly familiar‘?
Without Remorse, Amazon Prime
An elite Navy SEAL (Michael B. Jordan) uncovers an international conspiracy while seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife in Without Remorse, the explosive origin story of action hero John Clark—one of the most popular characters in author Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe.
Inspired by a true story, a widowed new dad learns to raise his daughter on his own.
Bad Trip, Netflix
In this hidden-camera prank comedy, two besties embark on a rambunctious road trip to New York as they pull real people into their antics.
Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss, HBO Max
Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss explores of the life and lasting legacy of the late rapper Juice WRLD. Including never-before-seen footage, unreleased music, and industry interviews, alongside a sampling of the late artist’s signature freestyles, the film highlights Juice WRLD’s lifelong struggles with drug use and mental health issues during his meteoric rise to fame.
Citizen Ashe, Apple TV and Amazon Prime
This documentary explores the life and legacy of tennis player Arthur Ashe through the heigh of the Civil Rights Movement, Apartheid in South Africa and the AIDS epidemic.
Black Art: In The Absence of Light, HBO Max
Inspired by the late David Driskell’s landmark 1976 exhibition, “Two Centuries of Black American Art,” the documentary Black Art: In the Absence of Light parallels the work of Black visual artists today.
You’re Watching Video Music Box, Showtime
Directed by EBONY’s October 2021 cover star Nas, You’re Watching Video Music Box is the untold story of the world’s longest running video show, Video Music Box.
Resort to Love, Netflix
Reeling from a broken heart and career meltdown, a singer (Christina Milian) takes a gig at a swanky island resort—where her ex-fiancé happens to be getting married.