essential viewing

30 of the best films with Black LGBTQ+ representation

With hundreds of Black LGBTQ+ movies listed on Wikipedia, finding the gems can be a challenge. But don’t fear! We’ve dug through countless Reddit threads, IMDb pages, and our own streaming history to bring you a curated list of must-watch films.

Whether you’re looking for a heartfelt drama, a compelling documentary, or a classic that’s stood the test of time, this list has something for everyone. These 30 movies feature Black queer characters in leading roles or significant supporting roles, ensuring you’ll find a film that resonates no matter your mood.

Dive in and discover stories that entertain, enlighten, and celebrate the richness of Black LGBTQ+ experiences…

1. Rustin (2023)

This biopic chronicles the life of Bayard Rustin, the openly gay Black man who was a key advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. and a prominent activist for civil rights.

3. Paris is Burning (1990)

A mega-influential documentary that provides an intimate look at the drag ball culture in New York City, focusing on African American and Latino LGBTQ+ communities.

4. Set It Off (1996)

This action-packed film follows four women who turn to bank robbery to escape their economic struggles. Queen Latifah stars as Cleo, a bold lesbian character.

6. Blackbird (2014)

A deeply emotional story about a young African American singer struggling with his sexuality in a small Southern Baptist town.

7. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)

This documentary investigates the mysterious death of Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender activist and pioneer in the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

9. Spiral (2019)

A gripping psychological thriller about a same-sex couple who move to a small town with their daughter, only to uncover a sinister secret.

10. Disclosure (2020)

An eye-opening documentary that examines Hollywood’s portrayal of transgender people and the impact of these stories on transgender lives.

12. Pariah (2011)

A poignant coming-of-age story about a Brooklyn teenager embracing her identity as a lesbian while navigating her conservative family’s expectations.

13. Naz & Maalik (2015)

A nuanced film about two closeted Muslim teens in Brooklyn whose relationship is tested by surveillance and societal pressures.

15. American Fiction (2023)

A satirical drama that tackles themes of race and sexuality through the story of a Black writer struggling with the industry’s expectations.

16. To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)

While primarily a comedy, Wesley Snipes delivers a memorable performance as a Black drag queen on a road trip across America.

18. Portrait of Jason (1967)

A raw and candid documentary featuring a night in the life of Jason Holliday, a Black gay hustler and aspiring cabaret performer.

19. Tongues Untied (1989)

A groundbreaking film by Marlon Riggs that combines poetry, personal testimony, and performance to explore Black gay identity.

21. Kinky Boots (2005)

A feel-good film about a struggling shoe factory saved by a drag queen’s idea to produce fabulous footwear for performers.

22. Car Wash (1976)

A day in the life of a Los Angeles car wash, featuring an ensemble cast and a notable performance by Antonio Fargas as a flamboyant gay character.

24. Kiki (2016)

A vibrant documentary that follows LGBTQ+ youth of color as they prepare for the Kiki ballroom scene in New York City.

25. Mississippi Damned (2009)

A powerful drama about three poor Black kids in rural Mississippi dealing with family trauma, secrets, and personal aspirations.

27. Looking for Langston (1989)

A poetic exploration of the life and legacy of Langston Hughes, blending archival footage and fictional scenes.

28. Passing (2021)

This film adaptation of Nella Larsen’s novel explores the reunion of two childhood friends who grapple with their racial identities and hidden desires.

30. Jewel’s Catch One (2016)

A documentary about the legendary Los Angeles nightclub that served as a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community during the AIDS crisis and beyond.

Celebrating Black, queer cinema

This collection of films provides a deeper understanding of the diverse and rich experiences within the Black LGBTQ+ community. Each movie offers a unique perspective that not only entertains but also educates and celebrates the resilience, love, and courage of Black queer individuals.

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2 Comments*

  • Kangol2

    Some great films on this list.

  • MISTERJETT

    HOLIDAY HEART

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