10 documentaries to watch beyond Women’s History Month

Dedicate time to learning about impactful Black women past this month of recognition

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As Women’s History Month continues, the endeavors of women are being championed across the board.  Although the third month of the year is established as the official period of recognition, empowering women should be a year-round affair. 

Learning the stories of impactful women and celebrating their lives and accomplishments is not limited to 31 days. Below are 10 documentaries to checkout as March comes to a close and beyond.

Sundance Institute Honors Risk-Takers In The Arts
Author Toni Morrison speaks at the Risk-Takers In The Arts honors benefit hosted by the Sundance Institute at Cipriani 42nd Street April 23, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

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Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am 

Where To Watch: Hulu 

Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, this documentary released in 2019 examines the life and work of author Toni Morrison.  It begins with her upbringing in Lorain, Ohio through her time as an editor of iconic African-American literature and beyond.  It features interviews with Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez, and Oprah Winfrey.

Free Angela & All Political Prisoners 

Where To Watch: Amazon

The 2012 documentary directed by Shola Lynch chronicles the life of young college professor Angela Davis and her dedication to activism. It examines how she was implicated in a botched kidnapping attempt that ends with a shootout, four dead, and her name on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.

Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992

Where To Watch: Vimeo

This film by Ada Gray Griffin and Michelle Parkerson was screened at the 45th Berlin Film Festival in 1995. It details Audre Lorde’s time in Germany where she received naturopathic treatment after a terminal cancer diagnosis. She lived in the country for years and influenced the German political and cultural scene during a decade of profound social change.

A Ballerina’s Tale

Where To Watch: Amazon

A Ballerina’s Tale documents Misty Copeland’s rise in the world of dance as she became the first Black principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre (ABT). It not only follows her journey but focuses on the absence of women of color at major ballet companies and the messages sent to young ballerinas. 

62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards  "Let's Go Crazy" The GRAMMY Salute To Prince
Misty Copeland speaks onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards “Let’s Go Crazy” The GRAMMY Salute To Prince on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

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Beah: A Black Woman Speaks

Where To Watch: HBO

Beah: A Black Woman Speaks is a 2003 film about actress Beah Richards, directed by LisaGay Hamilton. The Peabody Award-winning documentary explores Richards’s dedication to both art and activism as she worked to empower the Black community.

Josephine Baker: The Story Of An Awakening

Where To Watch: Currently not available for on-demand streaming. Visit American Public Television for broadcast details.

With rare photos and video footage, Josephine Baker: The Story Of An Awakening tells the story of the first Black superstar, Josephine Baker, and her career in both the United States and France. The documentary follows the 50-year-long of the performer and journey to civil rights activism.

 American MastersHow It Feels To Be Free

Where To Watch: Amazon

This documentary tells the story of Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier as six pioneers in entertainment. The film focused on challenged an industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process. Executively produced by Alicia Keys and directed by Yoruba Richen, it features commentary from Halle Berry, Lena Waithe, Meagan Good, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson.

American Film Institute's 47th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute To Denzel Washington - Arrivals
Cicely Tyson attends the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Denzel Washington at Dolby Theatre on June 06, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

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Being Serena

Where To Watch: HBO Max

Being Serena is an intimate documentary that explores the life of the tennis great told by Serena Williams herself. With multiple chapters, the film chronicles Williams’s adjustment to life as a wife, mother, and world champion.

TINA

Where To Watch: HBO Max beginning March 27, 2021

The brand new documentary features never-before-seen footage, audiotapes, personal photos, and new interviews, with Tina Turner herself. Directed by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, the film charts the music icon’s early fame, the private and public personal and professional struggles, and her return to the world stage as a global phenomenon in the 1980s.

Becoming

Where To Watch: Netflix

Becoming takes a look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama as she stepped into the public eye. The documentary goes up-close-and-personal into her life as she heads out on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of community and connection.

Michelle Obama Promotes Her New Book In New York City
Former first lady Michelle Obama visits The Lower Eastside Girls Club to meet and greet the members and discuss her new book “Becoming” on December 01, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

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