11 Films to Watch for Black History Month (and After)

Saturday, February 27, 2021
11 Films to Watch for Black History Month on Kanopy


For Black History Month 2021, Kanopy has featured "11 Films to Watch." These included important films like Oscar-winner Moonlight, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, and Oscar-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro. Black history shouldn't be confined to just one month. So, even if you're starting late or you missed the celebration entirely, rest easy. There's really no deadline on this list. They are, however, a great addition to #theblackfriendchallenge and any other self-education you may be doing on anti-racism and social justice. Or maybe you just need a bit of affirmation or to see yourself represented in and celebrated by some truly fantastic films. Either way, this list is for you.

If you're not aware: you can access up to six films a month on this video-streaming platform - entirely for FREE with your library card.  There are over 30,000 titles available on Kanopy including indie and foreign films, hard-to-find titles, award-winning documentaries, critically-acclaimed movies, classic cinema, and educational videos that inspire, enrich and entertain—all at no cost. All that to say: you have plenty of of time to work your way through this list and Black History and celebrating Black culture doesn't have to be limited to just one month out of the year.

Kanopy is not just a video-streaming platform. It is a collection of thoughtful and thought-provoking films. These enriching films bridge cultural boundaries, spark discussion, and expand worldviews - much like Frederick Joseph's book, The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person.

Have You Accepted #TheBlackFriendChallenge?

In January, the Jacksonville Public Library accepted the "Black Friend Challenge" and accepted a donation of 21 copies of the book from local activist and philanthropist, Taylor Richardson. This 17-year-old aspiring astronaut started a crowdfunding campaign which raised over $25k and helped put copies of the book in schools and libraries in over 30 states.

The book has been called "essential read for white people who are committed anti-racists and those newly come to the cause of racial justice." After finishing reading the book The Black Friend by Frederick Joseph, you might start looking for other Library books or resources to continue your learning. Part of the book's back matter includes a "Things and People to Know" and "Black Friend Playlist" of films to watch, music to listen to, and additional books to read.

In addition to the 11 films listed above and the ones listed in The Black Friend book, you will also find curated collections like the "Must See Black History" and "Celebrate Black Cinema" on Kanopy. 

For more on the Black Friend Challenge, the book, and Taylor Richardson, read this blog.

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