TBC Video Mix: Films That Celebrate Black Queer Stories
TBC Video Mix: Films That Celebrate Black Queer Stories
TBC Selects

TBC Video Mix: Films That Celebrate Black Queer Stories

Five movies that explore what happens when issues around race and sexuality collide.

For TBC’s Video Mix series, our team of movie and TV experts makes recommendations so that you’re never stuck with a million streaming services and nothing to watch.

The legacy of Black queer characters on screen is long and complicated. As the industry opens its doors to more writers, directors, and actors in the LGBTQIA+ community, the characters in these films give hope to a future where the fullness of queer stories can be told authentically. 

Portrait of Jason (1967) 

Jason Holliday is a sex worker and Hollywood hopeful who has lived more lives than director Shirley Clarke’s one-take documentary could capture. Born Aaron Payne, Holliday oscillates between extreme moments of joy and agony, blurring the lines between the life he was born into and the one he created for himself.   

Where to Watch: Prime Video

The Watermelon Woman (1996) 

Director and writer Cheryl Dunye stars as the protagonist (under her actual name) in this mockumentary. The protagonist Cheryl, a 25-year-old documentarian and lesbian, becomes obsessed with a fictional character played by an actor credited only as "The Watermelon Woman," who appeared in 1930s race films. She sets out to learn more about the woman behind the character, and quickly learns that she and her muse have more in common than she thought. 

Where to Watch: Apple TV

Pariah (2011) 

Seventeen-year-old Alike wears oversized clothes and fitted caps at school, which she sheds for something more “acceptable” before she gets home to appease her parents. Desperate to separate Alike from her friends, her mother introduces Alike to Bina, the daughter of a family friend from church—except Alike finds herself falling in love for the first time.  

Where to Watch: Vudu  

Moonlight (2016)

The story of Black men in Miami is often heavy with expectations of hypermasculinity and misogyny. Here, director Barry Jenkins explores the identity of Chiron, a young boy seeking acceptance from both his biological and chosen families—specifically his pseudo-father-figure Juan, a neighborhood drug dealer. As Chiron grapples with his sexuality, it challenges everything he was taught a man should be. 

Where to Watch: Tubi

The Inspection (2022)

After being shunned by his devoutly Christian mother, Ellis French—an openly gay Black man—enlists in the Marines, searching for a sense of belonging. The provocative A24 drama, inspired by director Elegance Bratton’s experience in boot camp at the height of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era, interrogates institutionalized patriotism and the flaws of the American Dream.   

Where to Watch: Prime Video

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