The month of February marks Black History Month and serves as the perfect opportunity to learn about the vast history and contributions Black musicians and institutions have made in music.
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Whether you’re a fan of Hip Hop, Pop, Rock, Country, Blues, Soul, and anything else between, there’s films that celebrate the impact of Black musicians across all genres and spotlight the influence that’s continued to be felt to this day.
In celebration of Black History Month, here’s 10 music movies highlighting Black artists and institutions for you to watch.
1 What Happened, Miss Simone?
The 2015 documentary chronicles the life of Nina Simone as a singer and civil rights activist. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary.
2 Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé
Homecoming gives viewers a behind the scenes look at the creation, inspiration, and production of Beyoncé’s iconic headlining performance at Coachella in 2018.
3 The Apollo
The Apollo Theater in Harlem is one of the most important venues in American history as it served as the stage where artists like James Brown, Dionne Warwick, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, The Jackson 5, and more got their start. This documentary chronicles the venue’s history and impact.
4 ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads
Robert Johnson is frequently cited as one of the most influential musicians of all time. Helping to pioneer the blues, specifically the Delta blues style, Johnson helped lay the framework for the sound that would eventually become rock and roll.
5 Charley Pride: I’m Just Me
The late Charley Pride is featured on this episode of American Masters looking at the story of his incredible life. From the beginnings as a sharecropper’s son on a cotton farm, to his career as a Negro League baseball player, and his rise to become a Country music superstar, the documentary shows Pride’s impact as a trailblazer.
6 Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly
How do you become one of the biggest musicians in the world? That’s the focus of this Travis Scott documentary, which looks at his musical beginnings in 2014 through his breakthrough album Astroworld.
7 What’s Love Got To Do With It
Considered one of the greatest biopics of all time, the film tells the story of Tina Turner. From her upbringing in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her beginning in music, to the marriage and musical partnership with Ike Turner, the film tells the incredible story of one music’s great artists.
8 Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am?
Affectionately known as The Big Man, Clarence Clemons gained fame as a saxophonist with the E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen’s backing band. This film focuses on Clemons’ life away from the stage during the final years of his life.
9 Nas: Time Is Illmatic
Illmatic is one of Hip Hop’s great albums and is a staple of the East Coast hip hop sound. This documentary looks at the circumstances that lead up to the release of Nas’ album in 1994.