30 Black movies and shows on Netflix you can watch right now

30 May 2019, 00:57 | Updated: 30 May 2019, 01:01

She's Gotta Have It Still - Netflix Black Shows
Picture: Netflix
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

Black movies and shows on Netflix to watch. From romance to drama, incredible documentaries and comedy specials – check out our must-see list of black programmes to watch now.

Netflix has thousands of titles for every audience. This includes many terrific shows and movies featuring Black leads. Netflix's Black programming includes everything from Beyoncé's brilliant Homecoming to the binge-worthy Green Leaf and everything in between. For anyone looking for Black shows and Black movies to watch on the streaming platform, Netflix's options are solid.

Shows like Dear White People and Luke Cage come to mind. As do films and specials like Ava DuVernay's 13th and the stunning period drama Mudbound.

If you're looking for more movies and TV shows to watch featuring black leads, here are 30 titles on Netflix to start with.

Black Netflix shows and movies to watch right now

Catch these Black tv shows on Netflix that feature talented stars like Justice Smith, Mike Colter, Logan Browning, and DeWanda Wise.

Some of these originals may have been canceled at Netflix, but they're still available to stream.

1) Black Lightning

Black Lightning comes to Netflix by way of the CW but still manages to offer the very rare image of a black superhero family. The stories told on Black Lightening are often rooted in issues like violence, drug use, and complicated family dynamics, however, these themes are presented in a way that is relatable and accessible for all audiences.

Genre: Superhero drama

Black Lightning CW
CW's 'Black Lightning' about a black superhero and his family . Picture: CW

2) Dear White People

Dear White People takes place at the fictional Winchester University as on-campus student radio personality Sam White grapples with the complex cultural politics of race as it pertains to her and her classmates. Dear White People is funny, poignant and, at times, moving.

Genre: Comedy Drama

Netflix Dear White People
Picture: Netflix

'Dear White People' Season Two Soundtrack: Every Song On Volume 2

3) Greenleaf

Anyone with a Black church upbringing will recognise the religious politics depicted in the Oprah produced Greenleaf. Gripping and beautifully shot, Greenleaf explores drama of so-called church "first families".

Genre: Drama

Greenleaf Key Art
Picture: Netflix

4) On My Block

On My Block tells the story of a group of close knit Black and Latinx teens living in a Los Angeles neighbourhood. Despite the teens having to face issues like gang activity and gun violence, On My Block is still funny, heartwarming, and centered around friendship.

Genre: Comedy drama

Netflix art On My Block
Picture: Netflix

Netflix's 'On My Block': Meet The Cast

5) All About The Washingtons

All About The Washingtons stars husband and wife production duo Rev Run and Justine Simmons. Even though the show was canceled at Netflix after one season, you can still catch 10 episodes of the wholesome family focused sitcom.

Genre: Sitcom

Netflix All About The Washingtons
Picture: Netflix

6) When They See Us

Ava DuVernay’s mini series about the central park five tells the harrowing and true story of a group of New York City teens coerced into confessing to a murder they did not commit. Years later, the men at the heart of the tragic miscarriage of justice are proven innocent by DNA evidence, but have already spent years in prison .

Genre: Dramatic mini-series

When they see us netflix
When they see us netflix. Picture: Netflix

7) The Get Down

Canceled at Netflix after 2 parts, The Get Down was consistently praised for its artistry and vibrant depictions of hip hop in the 1970s. The Baz Luhrmann created series is still available to stream on Netflix and is a treat for fans of talented young stars Justice Smith and Shameik Moore.

Genre: Musical drama

Netflix The Get Down
Picture: Netflix

8) Luke Cage

Luke Cage managed 2 seasons at Netflix before getting the axe. Mike Colter starred as the series' titular character, a crime fighting hero with super human strength and abilities. Set in Harlem, Luke Cage is steeped in Black culture and features legends like Alfre Woodard, Ron Cephas Jones, and Mahershala Ali.

Genre: Superhero Drama

Luke Cage
Picture: Netflix

9) She's Gotta Have It

DeWanda Wise stars as Nola Darling in Netflix's She's Gotta Have It. Spike Lee adapted and directed the series, which is based on his legendary 1986 film of the same name. Nola is an artist exploring sex and open relationships with her different suitors.

Genre: Comedy drama

She's Gotta Have It
Spike Lee's Netflix adaptation of his 1986 film 'She's Gotta Have It' . Picture: Netflix

10) Power

Chances are you've heard of Power, the gritty Starz drama about James St.Patrick (Ghost) a successful club owner and gangster trying to navigate two worlds.

Genre: Drama


11) Luther

A London based detective bends the rules to catch the bad guys. People's sexiest man alive 2018, Idris Elba, stars as DCI John Luther in the gripping BBC crime drama.

Genre: Crime drama


12) Siempre Bruja

Netflix’s first Colombian original stars Angely Gaviria as Carmen, a black witch transported from the 1600s to modern times in order to carry out a mission for a powerful wizard. Siempre Bruja isn’t perfect but Gaviria is dazzling as the series lead.

Genre: Fantasy drama


Black Netflix movies, dramas, and documentaries

From Beyoncé's incredible Homecoming documentary to the beautifully written and performed Mudbound and Ava DuVernay's acclaimed documentary 13th, you'll want to sink your teeth into these Black-led films and documentaries.

13) Homecoming - Netflix original (2019)

Netflix brought Beyoncé’s historic Coachella performance to its platform in April 2019. The intimate documentary takes fans behind the scenes of Beyoncé’s 8 month journey to becoming the first black woman ever to headline Coachella following the birth of her twins Rumi and Sir Carter.

Genre: Music documentary


14) Nappily Ever After - Netflix original (2018)

Nappily Ever After takes viewers on a journey of self-discovery, self-love, and self-acceptance in this campy (but delightful!) romantic comedy. Sanaa Lathan's on screen hair journey will ring true for any Black woman who has ever had a "big chop" moment.

Genre: Romantic comedy

Nappily Ever After
Sanaa Lathan's 'Nappily Ever After' about a Black woman's emotional hair journey . Picture: Netflix

15) Fences (2016)

Viola Davis and Denzel Washington star in this poignant family drama adapted from the August Wilson play of the same name. Viola Davis won an Academy Award for her role as Rose Lee Maxson and Denzel Washington directs.

Genre: Drama


16) What Happened, Miss Simone - Netflix original (2015)

What Happened, Miss Simone is about the life and career of one of music's most prolific voices, Nina Simone. The documentary chronicles her early career, her activism, family, and later life. The documentary is a fascinating look at one of the most interesting and groundbreaking musicians of her time.

Genre: Documentary

What happened miss simone
Picture: Netflix

17) Been So Long - Netflix original (2018)

Michaela Coel and Arinze Kene star in this 2018 musical film that sees a single mother named Simone fall for a handsome stranger she meets on a night out.

Genre: Musical

Been So Long
Picture: Netflix

18) 13th - Netflix original (2016)

13th is Ava DuVernay's compelling documentary detailing America's mass incarceration of Black men and women. It explains how the 13th amendment abolished slavery while simultaneously creating a new kind of forced labor and indentured servitude called the American prison industrial complex.

Genre: Documentary

13th Netflix
Picture: Netflix

19) Juanita - Netflix original (2019)

Living legend Alfre Woodard stars as titular character Juanita, a woman who leaves her life in Ohio behind to embark on a spontaneous and life affirming road trip.

Genre: Comedy drama

Alfre Woodard stars in Netflix's Juanita
Alfre Woodard stars in Netflix's Juanita. Picture: Netflix

20) Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia - Netflix original (2018)

South African comedian and host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, appears in the Netflix stand-up special Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia.

Genre: Comedy special

Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia
Picture: Netflix

21) Mudbound (2017)

Nominated for four academy awards, Mudbound is a period drama set in the deep south during the first half of the 1900s. Racism and prejudice abound in this beautiful film set against the backdrop of two families (one White, one Black) in rural Mississippi.

Genre: Period drama


22) See You Yesterday - Netflix original (2019)

Spike Lee produced See You Yesterday follows two black teens who manage to invent backpacks that enable them to travel back in time. When C.J.’s brother is shot and killed by police, she and her best friend Sebastian use time their invention to try and stop the tragic event from ever happening.

Genre: Sci-fi drama

See You Yesterday on Netflix
See You Yesterday on Netflix. Picture: Netflix

23) Lionheart - Netflix original (2018)

Lionheart is Netflix’s first Nigerian produced original. Nollywood powerhouse Genevieve Nnaji stars as Adaeze Obiagu, a woman vying for leadership in her father’s company following his ill health. Lionheart is also Genevieve Nnaji’s directorial debut.

Genre: Drama

Lionheart Netflix
Lionheart Netflix. Picture: Netflix

24) The Incredible Jessica James - Netflix original (2017)

The Daily Show and 2 Dope Queens' Jessica Williams stars in this whimsical romantic comedy about a young playwright who gets involved with a divorcee, Boone (Chris O'Dowd). Their courtship is made complicated by their unhealthy fixations on their ex partners.

Genre: Romantic comedy

Netflix Jessica James
Picture: Netflix

25) The African Doctor (2016)

The African Doctor tells the story of Seyolo Zantoko, an African doctor educated in France who turns down a job in his native Zaire to work in a small French village. There he experiences prejudice from the villagers who, despite being in need of a doctor, refuse to receive treatment from a Black African physician.

Genre: Comedy drama

E.D.I. Films, Moana Films, Curiosa Films

26) Wanda Sykes: Not Normal - Netflix original (2019)

Wanda Sykes doesn’t pull any punches in her new Netflix comedy special, Not Normal. In it, the outspoken comedian discusses everything from Donald Trump's presidency to what it’s like having a white wife and children.

Genre: Comedy special

Wanda Sykes comedy special: Not Normal
Wanda Sykes comedy special: Not Normal. Picture: Netflix

27) The Holiday Calendar - Netflix original (2018)

Kat Graham and Quincy star in Netflix's The Holiday Calendar, about a special advent calendar somehow able to predict future events. The heartwarming Christmas film sees the photographer best friends reconnect just in time for the holidays.

Genre: Comedy drama

The Holiday Calendar
Picture: Netflix

28) The Butler (2013)

The Butler is the story of a man, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), who becomes a butler at the White House in 1957. From his position, he is able witness some of the most important moments in history.

Genre: Historical drama

The Weinstein Company/The Butler movie poster
Picture: The Weinstein Company/The Butler movie poster

29) Queen of Katwe (2016)

A ten year old living in Kampala, Uganda meets a missionary who teaches her how to play chess. Soon, her skill leads to her becoming a competitive player with the opportunity to lift her family out of poverty. Queen of Katwe stars Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo, and Madina Nalwanga.

Genre: Drama

Queen Katwe
Picture: Disney

30) Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Beasts of No Nation is a fictional drama about a young boy forced to become a child soldier during his country's civil war. Heartbreaking at times, Idris Elba and Abraham Attah are brilliant as they bring the gut-wrenching 2005 book of the same name to life.

Genre: Drama

Beasts of No Nation Netflix
Picture: Netflix