12 Great Movies That Celebrate Black Culture

Between The Princess and The Frog, The Wiz, and more, family movie night is set!

From holiday movies and musicals to classic remakes and Disney princesses, there are so many family movies that celebrate Black culture to add to your watchlist or to watch again. And again and again.

While watching one of the many incredible movies about Black history or impactful documentaries serve a more informative and educational purpose, movies like The Princess and the Frog and Hairspray serve to entertain and help shed light on universal messages of hope, love, encouragement, strength, boldness, and authenticity. All of which are lessons any Black, white, blue, green, and purple child can embrace.

Now, as far as historical accuracy, Hollywood doesn't always get it right. But the essence of the messages is always there. Thanks to these movies, new generations are exposed to the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Black Cinderella, a soulful remake of The Wizard of Oz, and what it's like when two girls from opposite sides of the world and color line become best friends. Also, let's not forget Disney answering every Black girl's prayer and giving us a Black Disney princess we can proud of.

Representation truly does matter and these movies on this list further that important message.

Our Friend Martin (1999)

This animated film is a fun and educational way to introduce younger kids to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The movie follows two middle school friends who travel back in time at several points during the famous civil rights leader's life. Black movie blog Shadow and Act calls the movie "the most iconic educational film ever".

Watch Our Friend Martin on SchoolTube or purchase it on Amazon.

Soul (2020)

Spearheaded by Pixar's first Black co-director, Kemp Powers, the animated comedy starring Jamie Foxx introduces Pixar's first Black leading character. The inspirational movie is fueled with jazz and lingering, thought-provoking questions such as, "Are we living our life to the fullest?"

Watch Soul on Disney+.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

It may be a Christmas movie, but the message to never give up on yourself is universal. Starring Forest Whitaker, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, and Keegan-Michael Key, the movie tells the story of an old toymaker whose faith is restored by his curious and optimistic granddaughter. This movie is a whimsical treat with a diverse cast that includes Madalen Mills as Journey.

Watch Jingle-Jangle on Netflix.

Hairspray (2007)

Set in 1960s Baltimore, Hairspray follows a heavyset, fun teen Tracy Turnblad who lands a spot as a dancer on “The Corny Collins Show" (a fictional show similar to "American Band Stand"). The move sets in motion interracial love, new friendships, civil rights marching and ultimately integrating the popular dance show. Starring John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Nikki Blonsky, and Amanda Bynes, this movie has fun songs to sing and dance along with, but the message behind them is deep.

Watch Hairspray on HBO Max .

The Color of Friendship (2000)

Set in the 1970s and based on a true story by real-life author and activist, Piper Dellums, this movie is about the budding friendship between Mahree Bok (Lindsey Haun), a young white girl who lives in apartheid South Africa, and Piper Dellums (Shadia Simmons), the daughter of a Black U.S. congressman in Washington, D.C., who is working to dismantle the racist system. Mahree accepts a study abroad program, in which she would stay with a U.S. family for one semester. Piper was surprised that Mahree was white and Mahree was stunned her host family was Black. Nonetheless, a beautiful friendship blossoms.

You can watch The Color of Friendship on Disney+.

Roger and Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997)

"Impossible! For a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage. Impossible!" Where else are you going to see a Black princess with an Asian prince? The beautiful diversity alone in the casting is reason enough to watch Roger and Hammerstein's remake of this Disney classic, starring Brandy, Whitney Houston, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Watch Cinderella on Disney+ starting on Feb. 12.

The Princess and The Frog (2009)

Four words: First Black Disney Princess. In 2009, Disney fulfilled every Black girl's dream in Princess Tiana. Based in the musical city of New Orleans, the movie follows Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), a hardworking waitress, with dreams of opening her own restaurant. But she gets in a slippery bind when she kisses a frog in hopes of turning him back human. Instead she becomes a frog herself! The two must find a way to turn back human, with their journey taking them to the deepest parts of the bayou. But in the midst of the journey, they find a little more.

Watch The Princess and The Frog on Disney+.

The Wiz (1978)

Michael Ochs Archives/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

"Ease on down the road!" The original Wizard of Oz is nice, but The Wiz is another level of magic! The 1970s remake stars Diana Ross, who plays Dorothy, a kindergarten teacher living in Harlem, who gets lost in a blizzard and finds herself in the land of OZ. There she meets Scarecrow (Michael Jackson), Tin Man (Nipsey Russell), Lion, also known as Fleetwood Coupe De Ville (Ted Ross), and The Wizard (Richard Pryor). Legendary singer, Lena Horne, also stars as Glinda.

Watch The Wiz on Amazon and Hulu.

Akeelah and The Bee (2006)

In Akeelah and The Bee, Keke Palmer plays Akeelah Anderson an 11-year-old girl from Los Angeles who makes it to the National Spelling Bee. The film also stars Laurence Fishburne as her teacher and Angela Bassett as her mother.

Watch Akeelah and The Bee on Hulu and HBO Max.

The Hate You Give (2018)

Based on the bestselling, young adult novel by Angie Thomas, this impactful drama in more ways than one reflects our current atmosphere today. The story is about Starr Carter, a prep school Black girl who witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Starr is challenged to find her own voice and stand up for what's right in this PG-13 rated movie.

Watch The Hate You Give on Amazon.

The Proud Family Movie (2005)

Based on Disney Channel's animated series, The Proud Family, Disney's first Black animated family, Penny Proud, and her family are lured on an all-expenses-paid vacation where a mad scientist captures them. He refuses to let them go unless Oscar reveals his secret to Proud Snacks formulas.

Watch all of The Proud Family episodes and the movie on Disney+.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

Occasionally described as the "Blackest, most underrated movie of all time," this animated Disney classic is one that 90s (and some 80s) babies will definitely appreciate! In lamest terms, the movie circulates around Goofy's teenage son, Max, who simply wants to live his best life and win the girl (Roxanne, voiced by Pauly Shore). But through their off-the-wall, father-son road trip, he eventually learns that being like your dad isn't such a bad thing after all.

Watch A Goofy Movie on Disney+.