Streaming services promised access to everything for one simple monthly payment. But times have changed and there are a plethora to choose from each with its own exclusives and original content. We can’t simply pay for everything, so here’s how to get the most for your Black dollar with streaming services that support Black actors, directors and artists. BLAC has listed some of the shows and movies that will make you glad you’re subscribed.
In streaming, Netflix is the pioneer and is still a major player. The service invests billions in Black talent rather than just a few dollars here and there. The company has produced and licensed Spike Lee’s original films and television shows (“Da 5 Bloods,” “She’s Gotta Have It,” “Rodney King,” and “See You Yesterday”). They have collaborated with major producers like Ava DuVernay (“13th”), Kenya Barris (“#blackAF”), Shonda Rhimes (“Bridgerton,” “How to Get Away with Murder”), and Justin Simien (“Dear White People”), and airs stand-up specials from plenty of Black comedians (“Zero F—- Given” by Kevin Hart, “Afraid Of The Dark” by Trevor Noah, and “Black Mitzvah” by Tiffany Haddish). The platform even has a “Strong Black Lead” a podcast and an official Twitter account dedicated to highlighting their Black films and TV programming.
Catch “The School for Good and Evil,” a fantasy movie based on the 2013 book of the same name, starring Laurence Fishburne, Kerry Washington, and Sofia Wylie. It’s coming on Oct. 21 on Netflix.
- $9.99 per month for Basic with only 1 device streaming at a time in standard definition
- $15.49 per month for Standard with up to 2 devices streaming at a time plus access to HD version of shows and movies
- $19.99 per month for Premiere with up to 4 devices streaming at a time plus access to Ultra HD version of shows and movies
Disney has had a past with some of its early animated films featuring racist undertones. However, the media giant has since acknowledged this and has made attempts at being inclusive in the stories that its tells. All programs that feature racist, misogynistic and other problematic themes now come with a warning that reads: “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.”
With that said, the media giant has since ramped up Black representation in their movies and shows. “A Wrinkle in Time” (starring Oprah), Marvel’s “Black Panther,” “Doc McStuffins,” both “Lion King” films, “The Princess and the Frog,” “The Proud Family,” and “That’s So Raven” are all available on their service. It makes it very simple for Black families to sign up and have access to all these magical and family-centric content. You can even stream “Hamilton,” the musical that reimagines the founding fathers of America as people of color with impeccable rhythm and flow, without having to spend thousands of dollars on Broadway tickets.
The latest season of “Dancing with the Stars,” hosted by Tyra Banks and Alfonso Ribeiro, is running through October. Catch the new episodes on Disney+.
- $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year
It may seem out of place to watch late-night talk shows on a streaming service, but, for those who enjoy the format, NBC’s Peacock allows you to tune in any time you’d like and watch the endearing and funny Black hosts in “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” and “The Amber Ruffin Show” analyze the day’s news and put on their hilarious commentary. The gritty Fresh Prince remake “Bel-Air,” featuring a delectably nasty Carlton, is also available on the site. The platform even offers some free content you’ll enjoy.
Bravo’s reality show “The Real Housewives of Potomac” is coming back to Peacock for its 7th season this Oct. 9.
- Free for limited access to shows, some TV movies, news and talk shows
- $4.99 per month for Peacock Premium with full access to all content
- $9.99 per month for Peacock Premium Plus for full access with fewer ads
Thanks to some outstanding Black talent, Hulu is a good option for streaming series and movies that are worth it for your Black dollar. The cheerful sitcom “Black-ish” and “Grown-ish,” the distressing historical drama “Roots,” the riveting dance musical “Pose,” Donald Glover’s experimental “Atlanta,” and the “High Fidelity” remix featuring Zo Kravitz are all available on this platform.
Catch Tracee Ellis Ross bringing together Hollywood’s Black women and hair experts to talk about the significance of Black hair on “The Hair Tales” coming this Oct. 22 on Hulu.
- $6.99 per month for access with ads
- $12.99 per month for access with no ads
- $69.99 per month for a bundle with Hulu (with ads), Live TV, Disney + and ESPN
- $75.99 per month for a bundle with Hulu (no ads) + Live TV, Disney + and ESPN
- $1.99 per month for discounted access (with ads) for students
Paramount+, formerly known as CBS All Access, is still building its catalog of shows and TV. Still, that lineup has compelling content that’s hard to find on other platforms like the “Twilight Zone” revival hosted by Get Out and Us director/writer Jordan Peele, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and “Star Trek: Discovery,” in which Sonequa Martin-Green plays the lead Michael Burnham. Desus and Mero, Ziwe, and Viola Davis as Michelle Obama in “The First Lady” are also included in the Showtime-Paramount+ package.
Catch the 28th season of “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah which starts Oct. 3, as this may be his last after he announced his impending departure from the series. Catch a glimpse of his hilarious news commentary below.
- $4.99 per month for the Essential Plan (with ads)
- $9.99 per month for the Premiere Plan (no ads)
- $11.99 per month for Essential Plan (with ads) plus Showtime
- $14.99 per month for Premiere Plan (no ads) plus Showtime
- Students can also get 25% off of the Essential Plan.
6. Amazon Prime Video
There’s a vast selection of episodes and movies available to buy or rent on demand with Amazon Prime Video which covers pretty much every Black film or television program that comes to mind. The free shows that come with a Prime subscription can be a bit limited which include “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” “Venus and Serena” (2013), “Water in a Broken Glass” (2020), “Run Sweetheart Run” (2022).
Stream “For Colored Girls” (2010), a film adaptation of the award-winning stageplay by Ntozake Shange which depicts the difficulties brought by just being a woman of color, on Amazon Prime Video.
- $2.99 to $19.99 per movie rental with recent theatrical releases priced higher
- $8.99/month or free with existing Amazon Prime membership
Starz has a wealth of entertainment created by Black folks, featuring Black folks: “Power” franchise, executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson; “The BMF Documentary: Blowing Fast Money,” a largely untold story of Detroit’s Black mafia; and “Run the World,” a comedy-drama about a group of Black women surviving and thriving in upper Manhattan’s Harlem.
Catch the 3rd season of “Step Up” (2018) set to be released on Oct. 16.
- $8.99 per month or $74.99 per year
Black Entertainment Television (BET) has become a significant enough player to establish a separate streaming service of its own. If you are a fan of Tyler Perry’s, his latest originals are now exclusively available on BET+ after the famous African-American filmmaker his contract with Oprah ended. The platform is home to the “Kingdom Business,” a fictional but hard look at the gospel music industry; and “College Hill: Celebrity Edition,” the newest iteration of the famous series that put the spotlight on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The 4th season of Tyler Perry’s “The Oval” is coming this Oct. 11 on BET+.
- $9.99 per month or $94.99 per year