Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker (2020)
This is a Netflix original miniseries about hair care pioneer Madam C.J. Walker, based on her biography by A’Leila Bundles, On Her Own Ground. It’s about how Walker overcame racism, rivalries, marriages to become the United States’ first Black, self-made female millionaire. Watch the trailer here!
Roxanne, Roxanne (2017)
This is the biopic of Lolita “Roxanne Shante” Gooden. She was only 14 years old when she started working to become a hip hop sensation. Lolita had to juggle providing for her family, protect herself from the streets of Queensbridge, and make a life for herself around her passion. The film is more about an inside perspective of the singer’s struggles than it is an outside look at how she gained popularity. Watch the trailer here!
The Most Hated Woman in America (2017)
It is a biographical drama film starring Melissa Leo as Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the woman responsible for the Supreme Court ruling making mandatory prayer in schools illegal, after her fury at learning one of her sons is being forced to recite the Lord’s Prayer in school. It is an intense portrayal of O’Hair’s campaign and her kidnapping in 1995. Watch the trailer here!
First They Killed My Father (2017)
Directed by Angeline Jolie, this is the true story of a 5-year-old girl named Loung Ung and her struggles with her family after the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975. The biopic shows how Ung and her siblings were sent to Labor Camps and trained to become soldiers at a very young age. The best thing about this film is that it does not focus too much on showing the violence and gore but shows the underlying terror and chaos instead. Watch the trailer here!
Queen of Katwe (2016)
This film is based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, the first titled female chess player in Ugandan history. The Disney biopic follows Mutesi’s journey of a girl living in the Kampala slum of Katwe, who dropped out of school at age 9 to help her mother sell maize in the streets after her father died of AIDS. When a teacher starts giving chess lessons to some of the children, Phiona is fascinated with the game. Watch the trailer here!
Jennifer Lopez’s breakout role was her portrayal of Selena Quintanilla, a Mexican-American singer that was set to become an international superstar. Deemed as the Queen of Tejano music, this film portrays her rise to fame, as well as her family-life prior to her death. Watch the trailer here!
The Josephine Baker Story (1991)
Refusing to perform in front of segregated crowds, Josephine Baker (also known as The Black Pearl) left the United States for France. She was also the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture in 1934. This is HBO’s biopic starring Lynn Whitfield, who took home an Emmy and an NAACP award for her performance. Watch the trailer here!
Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
Diana Ross played the iconic jazz singer Billie Holiday in this biopic. The film follows Holiday from her youth, to her rise to fame while she struggled with drug addiction. It was also nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Diana Ross. Watch the trailer here!