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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Black History Month TV show and film recommendations


In 1926, scholar Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History, and his fraternity brothers established the first Negro History Week in February. They chose February because Black communities had already been celebrating President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ February birthdays.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford began to recognize the entire month of February as Black History Month, which is dedicated to teaching and honoring generations of Black accomplishments and struggles in American society. Here are six TV show and film recommendations to celebrate Black history and art.

“Atlanta” (2016-2022)

This four season comedy-drama series follows a rapper-manager duo as they attempt to find success within Atlanta’s hip-hop culture. Rapper-comedian-actor Donald Glover, also known as his stage name Childish Gambino, who created the show, became the first Black man to win an Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series in 2017 for his work on the first season’s seventh episode, “B.A.N.” It is currently streaming on Hulu.

“Hidden Figures” (2016)

Based on the 2016 book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, “Hidden Figures” tells the true story of three Black scientists, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan, who worked at NASA in the 1960s as “human computers,” while battling racism and sexism. Their work ensured astronaut John Glenn’s successful orbit around Earth in 1962. It is currently streaming on Disney+.

“Static Shock” (2000-2004)

One of the earliest superhero cartoons to star a Black hero in the leading role, “Static Shock” focuses on the titular teenage hero with electric powers. Static Shock’s comic book origins come from Milestone Media, a comic book company created by Black writers and artists Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle. Milestone was distributed by DC Comics, meaning “Static Shock” could collaborate with heroes like Batman and Superman during the show’s four-year runtime. It is currently streaming on Max.

“When They See Us” (2019)

Based on the true story of the “Central Park Five,” “When They See Us” tells the story of five young Black and Hispanic teenagers, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise, who in 1989 were falsely accused of attacking and raping a white woman in Central Park. The series documents their interrogations, incarceration and eventual exoneration in 2002. It is currently streaming on Netflix.

“Living Single” (1993-1998)

The five-season comedy “Living Single” follows a group of four Black women and two Black men who live in the same apartment building. The series documents their trials and tribulations as they try to find romantic relationships in New York City. It is currently streaming on Max.

“The Watermelon Woman” (1996)

“The Watermelon Woman” goes down in cinematic history as the first film directed by a Black lesbian, Cheryl Dunye. Dunye also wrote and starred in the film, which follows a young documentarian’s attempt to make a film based on a fictional 1930s Black actress named Fae Richards, also known as “The Watermelon Woman.” It is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video for those with a premium subscription.

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