4 new documentaries to watch during Black History Month

Check out these must-see films to add to your watch list this month.

Black History Month is well underway but there’s still plenty of time to learn something new. Luckily, the month is packed with powerful documentaries that highlight our history whether you’re looking for a deep dive into recent political events or want to discover some fun facts about your old favorites.

Here’s our list of four new documentaries to get into this month:

Sacred Soil: The Piney Woods School Story

Directed by J.J. Anderson and executive produced by Kelley L. Carter, Marc Jordan, and Jason Aidoo, this documentary is a must-watch. 

Synopsis: “Sacred Soil: The Piney Woods School Story” is a documentary film set against the culturally historical backdrop of one of America’s oldest Black boarding schools. This film amplifies the journeys of several Piney Woods School students and staff members, providing a never-before-seen window into the ever-evolving, complex layers of the school and its students. Vividly, yet beautifully, the film captures the emotional, physical, and mental tolls required to be young, Black, and educated in America by honoring the students’ perspectives of themselves and their school.

“Sacred Soil: The Piney Woods School Story” premieres Feb. 23 on Hulu.

Giannis: The Marvelous Journey”

Featuring interviews with Giannis Antetokounmpo and his entire family, this inspiring documentary marks the first time the global star’s family has offered firsthand accounts of their incredible journeys. It also includes insight from basketball luminaries such as Jason Kidd, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Kenny Smith, Vin Baker, and Ernie Johnson.

Synopsis: “Giannis: The Marvelous Journey” is an intimate portrait of a global superstar and one of the NBA’s most dominating performers, a two-time league MVP who led the Milwaukee Bucks to a championship in 2021. But his path began a world away from the spotlight, on the streets of Athens, where he was raised on the margins of society, alongside three brothers, by parents who’d emigrated from Nigeria in search of a better life. As the documentary recounts, one day in an internet café, young Giannis was captivated by images of NBA stars, and soon after picked up a basketball. From there unfolded an epic journey, at turns inspiring, heartbreaking, and triumphant, ultimately landing him in his adopted home of Milwaukee, where he emerged as “The Greek Freak,” a superstar who transcends conventional limits, transforming the game with his athleticism and versatility, all the while striving to use the memory of the loss he endured along the way to spearhead an impact far beyond the court.

“Giannis: The Marvelous Journey” premieres Feb. 19 on Prime Video. 

“James Brown: Say It Loud”

Directed and co-written by award-winning filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper, this four-part project is full of candid interviews and eye-opening revelations from Brown’s inner circle and industry experts. 

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Synopsis: Across four hours, “James Brown: Say it Loud” traces the incredible trajectory of Brown’s life and career from a 7th-grade drop-out arrested and jailed at the age of 16 for breaking into a car in the Jim Crow-era South, to an entertainment legend whose groundbreaking talent and unique perspective catapulted him to become a cultural force. His words, songs, style and moves inspired musical revolutions and molded a nation’s view of Black Pride and Black masculinity. Consistently facing obstacles and unbelievable odds, the documentary details how Brown persevered through decades of personal demons, racial injustice, and career setbacks to find redemption and become one of, if not the, most celebrated and influential artists of the 20th century. Featuring never-before-seen archival interviews and performances of James Brown, plus interviews with friends, family, musicians and proteges including Mick Jagger, Questlove, Bootsy Collins, LL Cool J, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Chuck D, Dallas Austin, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, his children Deanna, Yamma and Larry Brown, and many more, “James Brown: Say It Loud” is a definitive look at a complicated life and a reflection on the immense impact Brown continues to have on music and culture today. 

“James Brown: Say It Loud” debuts over two nights starting Feb. 19 on A&E.

In the Bubble with Jaime”

This riveting installment of season 8 of the award-winning docuseries “Local, USA” focuses on DNC Chair Jaime Harrison’s historic U.S. Senate run against Lindsey Graham. It’s executive produced by Charlamagne tha God and directed by Emily Harrold. 

Synopsis: This film brings viewers behind the scenes of the daring 2020 Senate campaign of Harrison, a Black man, against longtime U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in the deep red state of South Carolina. The run became a Herculean effort when COVID-19 became a global pandemic. The film sees Harrison reflect on his childhood as the son of a teenage single mother who went on to graduate from Yale University and Georgetown Law and his rise in politics.

“In the Bubble with Jaime” is available now on the PBS app.

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