5 Must-See Films Directed by Black Women

by Michella Oré

by Michella Oré

In honor of Black History Month, we’ve rounded up five films that you should add to your movie queues, STAT. All directed by Black women, each film carries its own weight by adding a unique perspective to the continuously evolving narrative of the African diaspora.

In an industry where women directors, particularly black women, are still grossly underrepresented and unsupported, these ladies have managed to persevere. Against the odds, they’ve successfully directed and produced films that skillfully showcase a wide breadth of experiences, while weaving social commentary with beautiful shots that continue to be relevant even 20 years later.

Truth is, in order to see stories genuinely reflected on the screen, those who live a particular reality have to take a seat at the table -- especially the director’s seat -- and tell the story. The women below have done just that and more.

While the list below is in no way expansive, it’s a good place to start if you’re eager to support these directors and the stories they hold. Cozy up and make your way down this list of awesome flicks.


Daughters of the Dusk (1991)


Director: Julie Dash

Daughters of the Dust tells the tale of three Gullah women navigating a generational split as they decide whether to travel north to the mainland from St. Helena Island or continue living where they are.

Available on YouTube, Amazon Video, Google Play and iTunes

Pariah (2011)


Director: Dee Rees

Pariah follows Alike, a Brooklyn teen who privately celebrates her lesbian identity while juggling the levels at which she can live her truth, and confide in her parents who are suffering strains in their marriage.

Available on YouTube, Amazon Video, Google Play and iTunes

Eve’s Bayou (1997)

Eves Bayou

Director: Kasi Lemmons

Eve’s Bayou is a drama centered around 10-year-old Eve Batiste’s realization that her family’s picture perfect image has been built on a web of deceit.

Available on YouTube, Amazon Video, Google Play and iTunes

13th (2016)


Director: Ava DuVernay

13th provides a detailed look into the historic parallel of African American criminalization and the economic boom of the U.S. prison system.

Available on Netflix

Mudbound (2017)


Director: Dee Rees

The latest film by Dee Rees, Mudbound, tells the story of two WWII veterans, one black, one white, who grapple with PTSD and racism upon their return home to rural Mississippi.

Available on Netflix