Celebrating Black Female Directors and Actresses over 40

Phenomenal women, phenomenal voices paving the way telling our
extraordinary stories in front of and behind the lens

Curated by the GreenLight Women Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

A Woman’s Error

Directed by Tressie Souders

Tressie Souders is considered to be the first woman African-American film director. A Woman’s Error is a true depiction of the lives of Black Americans in the 1920’s.  The film was hailed in the Black press as, “the first of its kind to be produced and directed by a young woman.”


One Night in Miami

Directed by Regina King

A fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered to discuss their roles in the Civil Rights Movement and cultural upheaval of the 60’s.

Streaming on Amazon

Daughters of the Dust

Directed by Julie Dash

A languid look at the Gullah culture of the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where African folk-ways were maintained well into the 20th century, and which was one of the last bastions of these mores in America, set in 1902.

Streaming on Netflix

The Rosa Parks Story

Directed by Julie Dash

A seamstress recalls events leading to her act of peaceful defiance which prompted the 1955 Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.

DVD Available on Amazon


Civil Brand

Directed by Neema Barnette

Frances is in the pen for killing her abusive husband. The abused prisoners rise up against the “new plantation” that harvests human labor for profit. Nothing will stop Frances and her fellow inmates in this brutal battle for justice.

Streaming on Amazon


Eve’s Bayou

Directed by Kasi Lemmons

What did little Eve see–and how will it haunt her? Husband, father and womanizer Louis Batiste is the head of an affluent family, but it’s the women who rule this gothic world of secrets, lies and mystic forces.

Streaming on Amazon



Directed by Kasi Lemmons

The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Streaming on Amazon and HBO Max



Directed by Ava DuVernay

Selma is based on the historic 1965 march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which helped guarantee equal voting rights for Black people and galvanize the Civil Rights Movement.  The film follows the three-month period leading up to the march to Montgomery which resulted in the signing of the Voting Rights Act.

Streaming on Amazon and FX Networks



Directed by Ava DuVernay

An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

Streaming on Netflix


The Secret Life of Bees

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood

In 1964, a teenage girl in search of the truth about her mother runs away to a small town in South Carolina. There she finds a family of independent women who can connect her to her past.

Streaming on Amazon and Starz


Love and Basketball

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood

A young African-American couple navigates the tricky paths of romance and athletics in this drama. Childhood friends Quincy and Monica grew up in the same neighborhood and share an all-consuming passion: basketball.  As they grow into adulthood, they fall in love, and as they struggle to make their relationship work, they also pursue their separate careers, hopefully into stardom in big-league professional ball.

Streaming on Amazon 


Directed by Dee Rees
Starring Mary J. Blige

In the aftermath of WWII,  in the Mississippi Delta, two families – one black and one white – are forced to share the same patch of land. Trying to keep the peace with each other,  both families struggle with hardship and poverty. The return of two war heroes unexpectedly nurtures a budding friendship that transcends prejudice. But life can be hard when the law of the land is segregation and hatred.  Then, no one can be safe.

Streaming on Netflix 


Directed by Dee Rees

Queen Latifah stars in this biopic of pioneering singer Bessie Smith, depicting her tempestuous relationships and incomparable artistry in the down-and-dirty world of Southern blues.

Streaming on HBO and HBO Max 

Black Panther

Starring  Angela Bassett

The heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and, in doing so, must confront a challenger from his country’s past.

Streaming on Disney + 


Directed by  Angela Bassett

A chronicle of Whitney Houston’s rise to fame and her turbulent relationship with husband Bobby Brown.

Streaming on Lifetime TV 

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Starring  Viola Davis

During a recording session, tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable “Mother of the Blues”.

Streaming on Netflix 

The Forty-Year Old Version

Directed by Radha Blank

Radha is a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, who is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. Reinventing herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, she vacillates between the worlds of hip hop and theater in order to find her true voice.

Streaming on Netflix 

A Dry White Season

Directed by Euzhan Palcy

A white, middle class South African suburbanite with no interest in politics agrees to help his black gardener find his jailed son. His investigation opens his eyes to the horrors committed by the secret police and turns him into a target.

Streaming on Amazon 


Directed by  Amma Asante

The mixed-race daughter of Royal Navy Captain Sir John Lindsay, Dido Elizabeth Belle, is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord William Murray, the 1st Earl of Mansfield, in eighteenth century England.

Streaming on Amazon 

Cadillac Records

Directed by Darnell Martin

In this tale of sex, violence, race, and rock and roll in 1950’s Chicago, Cadillac Records follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America’s musical legends, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry.

Streaming on Amazon 

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Directed by Darnell Martin
Starring Halle Berry

A drama set in the 1920’s, free-spirited Janie Crawford’s search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the morals of her small town. Based on the novel by Zora Neale Hurston.

Streaming on Amazon 


Starring Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe

In New York City’s Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in the hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Streaming on Amazon and Hulu 

Miss Juneteenth

Directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples

Turquoise Jones is a single mom who holds down a household, a rebellious teenager and everything that goes down at Wayman’s BBQ & Lounge.  But she remembers when she was a bonafide beauty queen, crowned Miss Juneteenth, a title commemorating the day slaves in Texas were freed two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Streaming on Netflix 

The Photograph

Directed by Stella Meghie

When a famed photographer unexpectedly dies, she leaves her estranged daughter hurt, angry and full of questions. When a special photograph is found, she finds herself on a journey delving into her mother’s early life and ignites an unexpected romance with a rising-star journalist.

Streaming on Netflix and Amazon 

The Trip to Bountiful

Starring Cicely Tyson

Carrie Watts begrudgingly lives with her busy, overprotective son, Ludie, and pretentious daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae. No longer able to drive and forbidden to travel alone, she wishes for freedom from the confines of the house and begs her son to take her on a visit to her hometown of Bountiful.

Streaming on Lifetime TV 

I Am Somebody

Directed by Madeline Anderson

In 1969, four hundred poorly-paid black women working in a hospital in Charleston, South Carolina, went on strike to demand union recognition and a wage increase, only to find themselves in a confrontation with the National Guard and the state government.

Streaming on Amazon and iTunes 

Losing Ground

Directed by Kathleen Collins

A comedy-drama about a marital crisis between a Black American female philosophy professor and her insensitive, philandering and flamboyant artist husband.  When the wife goes on an unbelievable journey to find “ecstasy”, her husband is forced to see her in a different light.

Streaming on Amazon  

The Watermelon Woman

Directed by Cheryl Dunye

Cheryl is young, Black, and lesbian.  She is consumed by a film project; to make a video about her search for a Black actress from her home town of Philly known as the Watermelon Woman who appeared in films in the 1930’s.  Cheryl learns who the real Watermelon Woman was and discovers she may have had a life-long affair with Martha Page, a white woman and one of Hollywood’s few female directors.

Streaming on Amazon,  Showtime, Roku + Showtime, iTunes 

Mississippi Damned

Directed by Tina Mabry

Three black children living in Mississippi deal with poverty, violence and abuse. Young Kari is a talented pianist who hopes to pursue a career in music.  Her sister, Leigh, is struggling to hide her lesbian relationship with her girlfriend, Paula.  Cousin Sammy deals with being a star basketball player.  Each child learns to deal with their dysfunctional family in their own way.

Streaming on Amazon,  Showtime, Roku + Showtime


Directed by Dee Rees
Starring Adepero Oduye

A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.

Streaming on Amazon and iTunes

Queen & Slim

Directed by Melina Matsoukas

Slim and Queen’s first date takes a grim, unexpected turn when a policeman pulls them over. The situation quickly escalates and Slim grabs the officer’s gun and shoots him in self-defense.  When a video of the incident goes viral, Slim and Queen are labeled copy killers and  the unwitting outlaws soon become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people all across the country.

Streaming on 


Directed by Chinonye Chukwu

As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.

Streaming on Amazon, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu

Little Woods

Directed by Nia DaCosta

A modern Western that tells the story of two sisters, Ollie and Deb, who are driven to work outside the law to better their lives. When the authorities catch on to Ollie’s plan to help her community obtain much needed health care and medication, she almost abandons her plan until a desperate plea for help from her sister.

Streaming on Amazon, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu


Directed by Tina Gordon

A woman is transformed into her younger self at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear.

Streaming on Amazon, Hulu, HBO Go, HBO NOW, iTunes, Vudu

The Color Purple 

Starring Whoopi Goldberg

A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

Streaming on  Amazon, TBS, TNT, Fandango NOW

For Colored Girls 

Starring Janet Jackson and Whoopi Goldberg

Based on the book For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange, the film tells the story of seven women who have suffered oppression in a racist, sexist society.

Streaming on  Amazon, TBS, TNT, Fandango NOW

Hidden Figures 

Starring Octavia Spencer and Taraji Henson

The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.

Streaming on  Amazon, Disney +, iTunes

The Three Muscatels 

Directed by Romell Foster-Owens

Richard Pryor stars in this parody of  The Three Muskateers which follows a co-ed who falls asleep while reading the book, and dreams about a trio of swashbuckling heroes and their zany adventures.

Streaming on Amazon,

Gone With The Wind 

Starring Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance in this Academy Award® winning epic drama set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Streaming on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu