Celebrate Black History Month With These PicMo Recommendations

Celebrate Black History Month with these six films, selected by our amazing Picture Motion interns! While no one should limit themselves to one month to recognize films by and about African Americans, we hope you can use this list to get started for 2018.
A screening of Black Panther helped our PicMo NYC team leap into an amazing vision of future earlier this month; now celebrate African American achievements in history with these film recommendations!

Whitney Wantong, Georgetown University Student, PicMo NYC Intern:

Hidden Figures
This movie celebrates African American women who contributed to Nasa’s space program despite the racial discrimination and segregation of the 1960s. Taraji P. Henson stars as Katherine Johnson, a mathematician whose calculations helped America reached the moon. As a math major, it is really inspiring to see women who look like me, flourish in the face of adversity.
How to watch: Stream on HBO or Purchase from iTunes, Amazon and Fandango

This film is a stunning, heartfelt depiction of the March On Selma, which was led by Martin Luther King, Jr. The skilled acting and vivid cinematography are so immersive, you really feel like you are in Selma, Alabama as the protest is taking place. It truly makes the lessons from history class come to life.
How to watch: Rent or purchase from iTunes, Google Play, and Fandango

Samena Hoque, Baruch College Student, PicMo NYC Intern:

The Help
Set during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, The Help depicts an aspiring author who decides to write a book detailing the lives and hardships African American maids go through while working for white families. In this film, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis come together to bring light to issues we still see today in a powerful and heartwarming manner through comedy, which I believe is the most effective method in getting a message across.
How To Watch: Stream on Amazon Video, Youtube, and iTunes.

The Butler
This heartwarming and thought-provoking film tells the story of an African American butler who has served in the White House for decades, witnessing both political and social events, all while serving America’s leader during the time. The viewer is taken on a journey with Forest Whitaker, and history is seen through an extraordinary lense. While watching this, I was amazed at the poise and nobility the butler possessed while experiencing these movements first hand, really teaching me how to deal with issues through patience and peace.
How To Watch: Stream on Amazon Video, Youtube, and iTunes

Cidnee Corry, Mount Saint Mary’s University Student, PicMo LA Intern

12 Years A Slave
12 Years A Slave is a grueling and honest look at slavery in pre-Civil War America. Based on Solomon Northup’s memoir, the film follows the story of a free black man kidnapped and sold into the horrors of slavery. I think that sometimes it can be easy to think of slavery as just something of the past. For me, 12 Years A Slave was a big reminder of the hardship my ancestors have been through, and the history that I should always acknowledge. Its depiction of slavery’s physical and psychological torment is a brutal but necessary reminder of our American history.  
How to Watch: Stream on Amazon Video and iTunes

Do The Right Thing
Written by and starring one of the most prolific black directors, Spike Lee’s, Do The Right Thing, has created an important dialogue for the decades. Set during a heatwave in New York, Do The Right Thingcenters on the boiling racial tensions between residents of the neighborhood, leading to a tragic end. The film insightfully highlights topics such as race, police brutality, and the “right” way to overcome such issues. The film’s vibrant music, cinematography, and characters left a powerful impression on me the first time I watched it. Do The Right Thing’s bold political statements and thought-provoking nature make it one of my favorite films to this day.
How to Watch: Stream on Amazon Video and iTunes