Actress Hattie McDaniel stole the show in the 1936 classic film Gone with the Wind and walked away with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. In that boundary-breaking moment, the world would start to realize the wealth of Black talent in cinema.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, and African-Americans are headlining the biggest blockbusters and the most respected films of our time.

In honor of Black History Month and ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood luncheon this Thursday, we’ve compiled a list of 20 Black films that have raised the bar in cinema.

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