It might be a Netflix world, but there are plenty of other competitive streaming platforms offering home viewing options that are more bountiful than ever before.
Amazon Prime is one of them and, just like Netflix, the streamer offers a library of films, both old and new, that have become increasingly diverse over the years.
However, it can still be a difficult task for any discerning viewer, specifically those looking for Black films, to sift through the deluge.
To assist on this cinematic journey, IndieWire runs a monthly series that highlights movies and television series worth streaming on every major platform in the U.S., including Netflix.
But, as an extension of that popular ongoing series, we’ve also curated lists of films that specifically tell Black stories and are streaming on those same major streaming platforms.
The ’60s and ’70s are especially well-represented on this month’s list of 10 picks, including “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), “Watermelon Man” (1970), “Across 110th Street” (1972), “Thomasine & Bushrod” (1974), and “J.D.’s Revenge” (1976).
There are also two Spike Lee films (one reflecting his very early years, and the other his more recent work) and much more, including a documentary on hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest.
1. “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest” (2011)
Michael Rapaport’s footage begins in 2008, when he went out on tour with the group, who were then reuniting almost 10 years after the release of their last album, “The Love Movement.
”Other than the incredible music, highlights from the film include interviews with some of hip-hop’s luminaries, most of them discussing their influence on the group or the group’s influence on them.
Audiences get a primer on the so-called “Golden Age of Hip-Hop,” followed by backstory segments on each member of the group, how they met, how they chose their name, putting together their debut album, and then it’s off to the races, with archival photo stills, music breaks, talking heads, and live concert footage.
2. “School Daze” (1988)
“School Daze” was inspired by director Spike Lee’s own experiences in a deeply entrenched, social-climbing fraternity/sorority system while an undergrad student at Morehouse College in Atlanta — a historically Black institution (an HBCU).
Much of the tension arises from the intraracial conflict between the fair-skinned (“Wannabes”) and dark-skinned (“Jigaboos”) students.
Characteristically, Lee gave himself a juicy supporting role, playing a freshman who willingly endures the most improper of humiliations in order to be accepted by the “Wannabe” fraternity.
“School Daze” isn’t neat, but what helps keep it all together are its thought-provoking themes, strong performances, and an infectious energy.
3. “Across 110th Street” (1972)
Three armed robbers (Paul Benjamin, Antonio Vargas, and Ed Bernard) slaughter five men — three Blacks and two Italians — in a raid on a Mob-owned Harlem policy bank that nets them $300,000.
The chase begins, with two different groups hunting for the men, including the sadistic, racist Mafia lieutenant (Anthony Franciosa) and two cops (Yaphet Kotto and Anthony Quinn) determined to track down all three men before the Mafia does. How will it all end? read more….