February 28, 2024

Black History Month: Films That Celebrate Black Innovators

In honor of this year’s Black History Month theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” we are exploring the intersection of the Black arts and tech.

We have curated a listicle of films that showcase how Black innovators have merged their artistic vision with technological processes.

From the untold stories of African-American mathematicians in NASA to the futuristic visions of Afrofuturism, these films span a broad spectrum, reflecting the diversity and richness of Black contributions to technology.

Hidden Figures 

This film tells the true story of three African American women working at NASA who were instrumental in the success of John Glenn’s orbit around Earth. 

It’s a powerful testament to the crucial roles of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson in the early days of the U.S. space program.

Black Panther

While primarily a superhero film, Marvel’s “Black Panther” is notable for its depiction of advanced technology in the fictional African nation of Wakanda

The character Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, is portrayed as a tech genius, showcasing a strong image of Black excellence and technological innovation.

Letitia Wright

The Imitation Games

This film, based on the life of Alan Turing, includes the story of African American mathematician and electronic engineer Clyde Foster.

Foster played a crucial role in developing early computers and their application in the US space program.

Something The Lord Made

While not strictly about tech innovation, this film tells the remarkable story of Vivien Thomas, an African American surgical technician.

It also covers his vital contributions to the field of heart surgery, which were groundbreaking in the medical technology field.

Something The Lord Made

She Started It

The documentary film follows five young women over two years as they try to build new tech companies.

It includes the stories of diverse women, highlighting the challenges and triumphs of women of color in the tech industry.

Coded Bias

This documentary explores the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s discovery of racial bias in facial recognition algorithms. 

It’s a compelling look at the intersection of race, technology, and justice.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.