Black + Bold

What to Watch: Black History Month Specials, Movies and Documentaries

Black History Month TV Specials

TVLine is marking Black History Month by spotlighting special programming that will be unspooling throughout the month of February.

The list below features a plethora of documentaries (old and new) chronicling Black history both in America and popular culture. You can hear the untold story behind Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder in the Smithsonian Channel’s MLK: The Assassination Tapes, celebrate the first Black astronauts in Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier, and deep dive into President Barack Obama’s powerful speeches in The Obama Years: The Power of Words.

Fans of the arts also have plenty to take in, including a movie about the life and loss of Whitney Houston and the premiere of HBO’s Black Art: In the Absence of Light (which will highlight the works of contemporary artists such as Theaster Gates, Amy Sherald and more).

Other films featured here are known for breaking boundaries, whether fictional or based on true events. Catch Showtime’s Spike Lee double feature (including the Oscar-nominated Do the Right Thing), or revisit the Jacksons biopic An American Dream, which shares the behind-the-scenes highs and lows of the famous family.

In addition, musician Pharrell Williams and filmmaker Kasi Lemmons search for rare accounts of their enslaved ancestors in PBS’ Finding Your Roots, and Disney Channel stars help introduce viewers to up-and-coming Black youngsters who are making history.

Below is our curated list of selections from HBO, Smithsonian Channel, PBS and other outlets.