12 Black LGBTQ+ Stories You Can Stream Right Now
During Pride Month and always, we want to be intentional about what stories we’re watching, listening to, and learning from. The movies and TV shows below highlight — in one way or another — the Black LGBTQ+ experience. If you have other streamable stories that you’d like us to add to this list, please let us know on Twitter or Instagram. We want this list to be as long as it can be!
Angels in America
There’s no other way to put it, Tony Kushner’s gay fantasia is an epic experience. Whether it’s onstage or on your screen, it’s a six-hour (plus some!) exploration of the AIDS crisis in New York, relationships old and new, and what it means to be a gay man living in this world. While the story is admittedly quite white, the character Belize gives a voice to Black drag queens in the city via a number of moving and poignant monologues. The entire story is worth your time.
Watch “Angels in America” on HBO in the U.S.
Queen Latifah leads the film that explores the life of “The Empress of the Blues” and jazz singer Bessie Smith. At the height of her career, Smith was the highest-paid Black entertainer while simultaneously fighting racism, sexism, and inequality each and every day. Among all of those important topics, this critically acclaimed adaptation of her story celebrates the star’s bisexuality.
Watch “Bessie” on HBO in the U.S.
The Color Purple
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, “The Color Purple” is loved by many and seen as one of the first groundbreaking works that explores LGBTQ+ themes within the African-American community during the early 1900s. Before it was a musical favorite on Broadway and beyond, the film, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, took cinemas by storm.
Rent “The Color Purple” on Amazon in the U.S.
Netflix’s latest hit documentary looks at the leading transgender activists within the entertainment industry. They share their thoughts on Hollywood and the entertainment industry’s impact on the community. Featured voices in the documentary include Wicked star Alexandra Billings and Laverne Cox.
Watch Disclosure on Netflix in the U.S.
Ryan Murphy’s latest TV hit is not to be missed. Set during the Golden Era of Hollywood in the 1940s, the show explores race, sexuality, and identity within the brutal film industry. Starring many Broadway faces including two-time Tony Award-nominee Jeremy Pope (Choir Boy, Ain’t Too Proud), this show reveals the hidden truths of showbiz.
Watch Hollywood on Netflix in the U.S.
This sequel-of-sorts to “Paris is Burning” revisits the voguing and drag scene in NYC as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to grow alongside an ever-increasing fight for transgender rights. The movie features a number of LGBTQ+ artists of color who are important parts of the ball culture in New York.
Watch Kiki on Hulu in the U.S.
Did you know there was a movie before there was Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s musical? Now you do. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Lola — a drag queen who saves a struggling shoe business — in the movie version? Once you watch this, make sure to stream the musical cast recording.
Rent Kinky Boots on Amazon in the U.S.
Based on a story from Choir Boy playwright and Public Theater, Royal Shakespeare Company, and Steppenwolf favorite Tarell Alvin McCraney, this Academy Award-winning film explores the life of Chiron, a gay Black man from Miami as he comes to terms with his own sexuality and identity.
Watch “Moonlight” on Netflix in the U.K. and U.S.
Paris is Burning
Still can’t get enough of the ballroom? Checkout the original 1990 documentary exposing the magnificent decadence of New York’s ball culture in this must-see movie. No matter who you are — you will fall in love with these transcendent artists.
Watch Paris is Burning on YouTube in the U.K. and U.S.
Portrait of Jason
This one is special. Jason Holliday is the only person you’ll see onscreen throughout this documentary and you’ll be glad he is once you press “play.” A gay, Black hustler and aspiring cabaret performer — Holliday is a theatrical, exaggerated presence and his telling of his life story alongside the journey of filming the interview itself is something you have to see for yourself.
Rent Portrait of Jason on Amazon in the U.S.
Get your Ryan Murphy fix with a throwback to the legendary ballroom scene. This series highlights the struggles of the transgender community in the late 1980s in New York City and features lots of theater faves like Billy Porter (Kinky Boots) and Mj Rodriguez (Little Shop of Horrors).
Watch Pose on Netflix in the U.K. and U.S.
Rent is simultaneously a period piece and a timely work of art. Set in the late 1980s, it’s about the AIDs epidemic, drag culture, what it means to be both LGBTQ+ and Black in America, and more. Even better? The movie adaption features almost everyone from the original Broadway cast.
Watch Rent on Hulu in the U.S.