In an industry where white male directors dominate, let’s bring our focus to the Black female filmmakers who challenge the Hollywood standard. From big blockbuster movies to underrated indie gems, check out these must-see movies directed by Black women.
Directed by: Nia DaCosta
Starring: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo
A sequel to 1992’s Candyman, the film goes back to Chicago’s now gentrified Cabrini Green, where an artist begins to explore the macabre history of Candyman.
Written and Directed by: Janicza Bravo
Starring: Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun, Ari’el Stachel
Based on a viral Twitter thread, the story follows a part-time stripper who is convinced by a new friend to travel to Florida in order to make money.
Directed by: Halle Berry
Starring: Halle Berry, Shamier Anderson, Adan Canto, Sheila Atim
A disgraced MMA fighter finds redemption in the cage and the courage to face her demons when the son she had given up as an infant unexpectedly reenters her life.
One Night in Miami…
Directed by: Regina King
Starring: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom, Jr.
A fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the Civil Rights Movement and cultural upheaval of the ‘60s.
Daughters of the Dust
Written, Directed, and Produced by: Julie Dash
Starring: Cora Lee Day, Barbara O., Alva Rogers, Trula Hoosier
Set in 1902, the film tells the story of three generations of Gullah women as they prepare to migrate off the island, out of the Southern United States, and into the North.
Written and Directed by: Channing Godfrey Peoples
Starring: Nicole Beharie, Kendrick Sampson, Alexis Chikaeze
A former beauty queen and single mother enters her daughter into a local “Miss Juneteenth” pageant.
Co-written and Directed by: Tina Gordon (and produced by Marsai Martin)
Starring: Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin
An overbearing boss is transformed into a 13-year-old version of herself.
I Will Follow
Written and Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Omari Hardwick, Blair Underwood, Beverly Todd
This drama chronicles a day in the life of a grieving artist, and the twelve visitors who help her move forward after the death of her aunt.
Queen & Slim
Directed by: Melina Matsoukas (Written by: Lena Waithe)
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny
A first date takes an unexpected turn when a traffic stop goes wrong.
Love & Basketball
Written and Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Alfre Woodard
Monica and Quincy play basketball together through life challenges from childhood to adulthood.
The Watermelon Woman
Written, Directed, and Edited by: Cheryl Dunye
Starring: Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Valarie Walker
Considered a landmark in New Queer Cinema, a young black lesbian filmmaker investigates the life of “The Watermelon Woman,” a 1930’s actress who played stereotypical roles.
Co-written and Directed by: Dee Rees
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell
Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjust to post-war life.