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Remarkable Movies With Strong Black Female Leads.

movies with strong black female leads
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In this movie list, I want to highlight the Black women. Young and mature, happy and oppressed, all these women have their own story and unique path, like every person worldwide. 

These movies with strong black female leads will not only entertain you but also allow you to look at the world through the prism of profound social and cultural themes. My selection ranges from intense, dramatic stories about fighting discrimination to inspiring biopics about iconic black figures. These cinematic masterpieces will touch you to the core and expand your horizons.

Movies with strong female protagonists.

If Beale Street Could Talk, 2018.

What a terrible injustice!

The film tells the heartwarming story of young Tish and Fonny, whose lives are turned upside down. Together, they dreamed of the future, of finding happiness and starting a family. But their world comes crashing down when Fonny is falsely accused of rape. Despite her pregnancy, Tish decides to do everything possible to prove the innocence of her loved one and return him to freedom.

Everyone says that this is another film about racism, but this is just one of the topics. For me personally, although it was important, it was not central. It could happen to anyone. This story is not about African Americans but injustice, love, and life.

YouTube, Amazon Videos, Apple TV, The Roku Channel ( free).

The Hate U Give, 2018.

How hatred of people who are different ruins everyone.

A teenage girl from the urban ghetto Starr is torn between two worlds – her home in a troubled poor neighborhood and a prosperous school where she studies with white children. Starr’s situation becomes more complicated when she sees a police officer shooting her unarmed friend, a suspected drug dealer.

The Hate U Give is based on Angie Thomas’ novel of the same name. And although the book is positioned as teenage literature, the topic touched upon in it is not at all children’s. The difficult film shows the full picture of the hatred of law enforcement agencies towards the black inhabitants of the run-down neighborhood. Their prejudice against ordinary people resonated with me.

YouTube, Amazon Prime Videos.

Last Holiday, 2006.

It’s a film that teaches you to love life.

Georgia Byrd is a modest and shy saleswoman in New Orleans. She sells kitchenware and is trying to learn how to cook. Having always stayed in her home state of Louisiana, Georgia dreams of traveling. One day, the heroine finds out that she has an incurable disease. Realizing that her days are numbered, Georgia leaves everything and goes to a European resort. Having stayed in an expensive and prestigious hotel, she begins to behave provocatively and uninhibitedly, making others think she is rich.

The inimitable Queen Latifah played this role perfectly, for which she has great respect! The film turned out to be romantic and beautiful, and despite the plot’s tragedy, it was hilarious! Undoubtedly, it is one of the most positive movies with strong black female leads.

The Roku Channel, YouTube, Amazon.

A Fall From Grace, 2020.

Loneliness and unexpected happiness.

Grace Waters is accused of killing her husband. The woman wants to admit her guilt and agrees to a life sentence as long as she stays in a prison that is located near her son’s house. Young and inexperienced lawyer Jasmine Bryant is sent to Grace to sign the deal. But after a frank story from the accused, the human rights activist decides to prove Sarah’s innocence in court.

It is an excellent thriller with detective story elements, a twisted plot, and an unexpected ending—everything I like.


The Color Purple, 1985.

Thoughts to the sound of field grass.

The film is about the fate of a black girl, Celie, who lived in a small town in Georgia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Throughout her life, she suffered many adversities and hardships. At the age of 14, the girl gives birth to a child from her stepfather. The foster father takes Celie’s child away, and she never sees him again. He forces the girl to marry a farmer who comes to woo her younger sister, Nettie. But Celia’s husband is just as abusive to her as her stepfather…

Whoopi Goldberg and 11 Oscar nominations. This film is a real art. It is a spiritual revelation like no other. There is so much light in it, human love and nobility, strength and overcoming terrible suffering. I highly recommend watching it.

Amazon Prime Video.

Desert Flower, 2009.

Does it hurt to be a woman?

It is the story of Waris Dirie – a simple nomadic girl from Somalia. At 13, she ran away from her family and made her way up to London. A few years later, she became one of the most popular models in the world. Waris was not the first black top model. Still, she was the first woman to condemn the practice of female circumcision publicly. 

The destinies of strong people always motivate me; I want to learn more, understand the story of life, and overcome obstacles. The film about a Somali girl touches the depths of my soul; flashbacks from memories are skillfully placed here, where I clearly understand the events. There is no need to explain how hard the ritual affected Varis and how difficult it was for her to live in the future. 

Apple TV, YouTube ( free).

What’s Love Got to Do with It, 1993.

What is Tina Turner capable of?!

Few rock superstars have had such a dramatic fate as Tina Turner. Born Anna Mae Bullock, this modest girl seemed to have pulled out a lucky ticket when the successful musician and producer Ike Turner became her husband.

But even in her wildest dreams, she could not foresee her life becoming a nightmare when her fame outgrew her husband’s popularity. Ike turned from a wonderful guy into a monster out of jealousy for her fame, beating his wife half to death. And who knows what the singer’s fate would have been like without music? It became the force that helped her overcome all adversity and become the same Tina Turner. 

It is a touching and instructive story from which everyone can learn a lesson. And I was amazed by the ending.

Waiting to Exhale, 1995.

Women are waiting for ordinary happiness.

It is a charming film about four beautiful women and their relationships with men. The friends have to go through one challenging year. They just need the precious exhalation.

In this story, I see a parallel with Sex and the City. Only here everything is more decent and much more serious. But this film is not without humor in its sex scenes. I laughed. Despite all the vulgarity, Waiting to Exhale does not go too far. After all, this is actually our life.

Amazon Prime Video.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday, 2021.

A movie with Billy’s velvety voice.

1940s. The popular jazz singer Billie Holiday, to the displeasure of the authorities, regularly performs the tune Strange Fruit about the lynching of the Black in the southern states and stubbornly refuses to remove it from her repertoire. Since Billie is addicted to all kinds of substances, the FBI decides to pursue the singer with the help of the anti-narcotics department and sends black agent Jimmy Fletcher to ingratiate herself with her.

The movie falls into the BLM theme but somewhat loses in other aspects. But these topics are no less interesting – the singer’s addiction and her relationships with others. The film says nothing at all about the music business. Still, Holiday was one of the first independent singers in the United States and managed to gain authority at a time when there was a belief among producers that all singers were the same. Audiences wouldn’t even notice if one of them was replaced by another.

Treat the film like an old, rustling tune on the gramophone with “Strange Fruit” (1939), which has become a real legend of black jazz.


Belle, 2013.

A charming historical melodrama. 

The film is based on real events in 18th century England and tells the tale of the life of a young black girl, Dido Elizabeth Belle. She was born from the relationship of an Englishman, captain of the Royal Navy, John Lindsay, and a black woman, Maria Belle. After Dido was born, John took his daughter to him and brought her to England, even though people of color were oppressed at that time. Dido studied with her cousin Elizabeth and grew into a true lady.

She was not the only one; in those days, there were plenty of half-bloods on both sides of the Atlantic, and many free ones were among them. But it was her fate that led to the beginning of the abolition of slavery in England.

Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV.

The Book of Negroes, minitv series 2015.

«I seem to have trouble dying.»

As a teenager, Aminet was kidnapped from her African village and sold into slavery. The smart girl quickly learned a new language and mastered many other valuable skills. Soon, she turned into a beautiful girl. The mature lady managed to fall in love and give birth to a child, but her happiness was short-lived. Her child was sold into slavery to another owner, and she soon faced the same fate.

The series is really very atmospheric, in the sensational style of ’12 Years a Slave’ – with the only difference being that the main role here is given to a woman, not a man. The plot from the first episode is captivating, even despite the clichés found here and there.

YouTube, Amazon Prime Video.

Passing, 2021.

Sketch in black and white.

The intrigue begins from the first frames. An elegant and apparently black woman shops for her children and takes refuge from the heat in an expensive hotel in an upscale New York area. She hides her face under her hat as much as possible; she is indecisive and embarrassed as if she expects to be kicked out at any moment. 

The action of Passing takes place in the 20s. Although the United States defeated slavery, only the Blacks considered non-whites to be people. Many try to pass as white for personal gain, which often succeeds. Rebecca Hall talks about such a scam in her debut film.

The general antique look also adds a unique atmosphere. Here, you have a piano on the soundtrack and an aspect ratio of 3:4.


Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, 2020.

A-one, a-two, a-you know what to do!

The action takes place in the late 1920s. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a film adaptation of the play by August Wilson about how the legend of American blues, Ma Rainey, begins a conflict with a white manager and producer for the right to control his creativity.

The film is a minor, infinitely beautiful melody that contains all the love for music and pain for the injustice millions of people still live with daily.

The words spoken by the characters need to be heard. It is impossible to take your eyes off the brilliant cast. A certain theatricality limits, but does not diminish, the enormity of the artists’ work on this film.


The Best of Enemies, 2019.

About the search for compromise.

This real story is about a unique friendship between one of the city leaders of the KKK and a black activist in a provincial American town in the early 70s of the last century. They were bitter opponents until they were put on the same committee to resolve racial segregation at the school. Longtime enemies are united by concern for the future of their children.

My overall impressions of the film were positive, but I missed the details of the commission’s work, which brought together both blacks and whites. 


Dreamgirls, 2006.

Where do dreams lead?

At a traditional show of “young talent” in New York, a vocal trio from Chicago attracts the attention of a professional producer, who offers the girls a tempting contract and takes them under his wing. He quickly leads the young ensemble to international recognition using professional techniques for promoting newcomers. However, neither fame nor money makes girls happy.

Each song on the tape is a jazz, rhythm, and blues masterpiece. I especially want to mention the compositions “Only One Night,” performed dramatically by Jennifer Hudson, and “Listen,” performed by Beyoncé. However, all the songs in the film are worthy of becoming favorites.

Apple TV, The Roku Channel, YouTube, Amazon Prime Videos.

Skin, 2008.

The real story of the big bullying of little Sandra.

The film is based on the true story of a black girl born in South Africa in the sixties of the twentieth century. Her story began with the fact that her parents were white.

But despite her exotic appearance, the parents do not treat the girl with coolness and do not perceive her as a strange stranger. They sincerely love their baby and strive to achieve the best for her. Therefore, she is sent to a neighboring city, to a boarding school, where her older brother Leon (whose skin is no different from others) is already studying. From this moment, the misfortunes begin.

It is an amazing movie and an acute social drama. The fate of a person is broken due to racial prejudice, human stupidity, and the injustice of existence. It is one of the most touching black female lead movies for me.

Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon Prime Videos.

Black Venus, 2010.

Venus Noire.

It is another real story that happened in the 19th century in Europe.

We see Sarah Baartman on the theater stage, where she is shown as a captured savage from the Dark Continent. She’s in chains and raging in front of a rabid crowd. She twirls her exotic dances and lets everyone feel her outstanding butt. But something tells us that the woman is only playing.

Everything becomes painfully apparent when Sarah leaves the stage and leans on his temples, shedding tears. Previously, this woman had a child and was a servant for her entrepreneur, and then, when her baby died, the owner invited her to go to Europe and earn extra money on her appearance. Naive Saarti did not know that this was the beginning of the end, and the higher they went into the world, the lower and more passionate people were.

YouTube, Amazon Prime Videos, Roku, Apple TV.

Queen of Katwe, 2016.

Go towards your Dream!

The true story of young chess player Phiona Mutesi, who came from impoverished areas of Uganda. A hungry, illiterate girl who discovers her talent through a missionary. Phiona dreams of becoming a world-class player to change her seemingly doomed life.

I recommend watching the film with your loved ones. This picture will create a warm atmosphere, and the feelings you experience will unite your loved ones! I already mentioned this movie in my selection of the best 16 movies with genius main characters, both fictional and based on a true story. 

Disney +, YouTube, Amazon Prime Videos, and Apple TV.

movies with strong black female leads
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Final words.

It was a long list, isn’t it? I hope you found new pictures to watch during dark February evenings. What other movies with the same topic do you know? Let’s talk down below in the comments. 

Share this blog post if you enjoyed it. I would appreciate it!

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I`m in love with movies and psychology. Here I write how we can use movies for healing and self-growth. Also, be sure to check out my movie lists. You will find cool suggestions for movie night.

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  • Great post, Olga! Some of these movies I watch every year because they are so timeless, and the characters stick with you. I love how that movie Passing is on here as well- that movie is an undermentioned gem!

  • Thank you so much for these suggestions! I have “The Hate You Give” on my TBR, I didn’t realize they made a movie of it. Adding Belle to my watch list!

  • Grateful for these amazing movies showcasing powerful Black women! Their strength, resilience, and talent shine bright, inspiring us all. Each film tells a unique story, highlighting the diversity and depth of Black female leads in cinema. Thank you for the representation and the empowering messages they bring.

  • Thank you for this review of so many movies with black woman with lead roles. I’ve seen a few but I must add the others to my list – and include my older children while watching. It is important for them to see these women!

  • This is a great list of movies! Last Holiday is one of my favorite movies with Queen Latifah. I hope we see more black performances in the future since they are still few far and in between. Especially given the recent buzz about Taraji and her pay in The Color Purple.

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I`m in love with movies and psychology. Here I write how we can use movies for healing and self-growth. Also, be sure to check out my movie lists. You will find cool suggestions for movie night.

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