25 Must-See Documentaries Released in 2023

15 Must-See Documentaries Released in 2023...So Far

In the realm of documentaries and docu-series, 2023 has delivered a collection of noteworthy releases. These must-see documentaries cover a wide spectrum of stories and perspectives. From the less-explored paths of “Silver Dollar Road” to the cultural insights of “See It Loud,” each project brings a unique flavor. Some dive into contemporary life, while others spotlight the journeys of well-known figures. Themes of time, societal roots, and even a poetic journey to Mars weave through these documentaries.

We carefully curated list of 15 must-see documentaries of 2023 that encapsulate the diversity and depth of storytelling. From untrodden paths to cultural reflections and historical excavations, these documentaries offer a kaleidoscope of narratives.

Whether you’re a lover of documentaries or just curious immerse yourself in these must-see documentaries of 2023 below.


Silver Dollar Road

“Silver Dollar Road,” directed by Raoul Peck, unravels an enraging and uplifting narrative, chronicling a Black family’s decades-long legal battle against a property development company in North Carolina. This documentary highlights systemic unfairness in real estate laws, showcasing the ongoing challenge of Black land loss.
Stream on Prime Video



See It Loud: The History of Black Television

“See It Loud: The History of Black Television” is a transformative five-part docuseries executive produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter. Offering a comprehensive survey of Black TV history, the series explores its impact on popular culture, showcasing authentic Black voices and talent while addressing the complexities and innovations within the industry.
Stream on Discovery+, Max, Hulu, Sling TV



All About The Biz

The documentary explores Biz Markie’s personality and contribution to hip hop. It’s a celebration of a lovable weirdo who made people happy. A cogent, affectionate and largely apt tribute to Markie, the D.J. and rapper who was known as a gifted beatboxer.

Stream on Showtime


Kokomo City

“Kokomo City” is an urgent and timely documentary that sheds light on the constant threat of violence faced by Black trans women. This vibrant and original work provides a complex and heart-wrenching glimpse into the world of these heroines, who fight for their lives and self-worth as transgender sex workers. The most refreshing surprise is the positive and jovial vibe exuded by almost all of the interviews and interviewees, making it a captivating and unflinchingly honest portrayal.
Stream on VOD

Time of Essence

The 2023 documentary series “Time of Essence” stands as a cultural artifact in American history, focusing on the profound impact of Essence magazine on Black culture over the last 50 years. This five-part docuseries features firsthand commentary from trailblazers and icons, never-before-seen footage, and behind-the-scenes moments, delving into each decade from the 1970s to the present day. The series echoes sentiments such as “The future of ESSENCE is what the future will be,” emphasizing the importance of their investment in Black women and a commitment to inclusivity with the powerful statement, “Nobody Is Excluded.”
Stream on Discovery+, fuboTV, Philo, Max


Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story

Tyler Perry’s documentary offers a compelling journey into the Hollywood mogul’s life, emphasizing self-belief and risk-taking. The film explores Perry’s work ethic, shaped by a powerful maternal influence, and delves into the evolution of his iconic character, Madea. While some critics find the documentary forgettable due to pacing issues, it provides a fresh and empathetic perspective on Perry’s impactful career.
Stream on Prime Video


Little Richard: I Am Everything

The documentary on Little Richard’s life navigates a nuanced landscape. Its significance is in uncovering the Black queer origins of rock ‘n’ roll and Little Richard’s true pioneering style to music. The film uses archival footage, personal anecdotes, and understanding of Little Richard’s transgressive artistry that contribute to a vivid and impactful narrative.
Stream on Max

The League

In “The League” by Sam Pollard, the rise and fall of the Negro Leagues take center stage, offering a compelling look at the pivotal role played by African-American players, entrepreneurs, and communities in baseball’s history.

Stream on Hulu

Invisible Beauty

“Invisible Beauty” is an affectionate and elegantly tailored documentary that honors Bethann Hardison’s remarkable career and legacy in the fashion industry. It’s profoundly inspiring, the film captures Hardison’s breakthrough as a model, offering a unique take on fashion and a more personal perspective due to her involvement behind the scenes.

Stream on Hulu


Stamped From The Beginning

“Stamped From the Beginning” deeply engaged me with its well-paced exploration of Black-focused racism roots. While I found it ambitious and thought-provoking, the catchy title may downplay powerful aspects in addressing systemic racism. The documentary, based on Ibram X. Kendi’s book, delivers essential commentary on embedded racism in society.
Stream on Netflix



High on the Hog (S2)

High on the Hog Season 2 continues to captivate with its insightful exploration of African American culinary heritage. The series skillfully frames food as a tool in the fight for freedom, offering an informative take on the extensive African influence on American cuisine.
Stream on Netflix


Black Travel Across America

Travel Consultant, Martinique Lewis, embarks on a journey to visit historically listed Green Book locations and modern black travel destinations.

Stream on Hulu, Disney+, Nat Geo


Bill Russell: Legend

NBA champion, coach and civil rights icon Bill Russell builds a larger-than-life legacy both on and off the court during his thirteen-year career.

Stream on Netflix


Thriller 40

The documentary, directed by Nelson George, features never-before-seen footage like recording sessions of the album. It also features behind-the-scenes footage from making the short film. As well as a rare interviews with Jackson himself. Thriller 40 will feature commentary from Misty Copeland, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Will.I.Am, and more.


Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project

“Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project” is hailed for its Afrofuturist approach, offering a galactic odyssey and innovative poetry treatments that provide an intimate vérité into Nikki Giovanni’s life. Critics note its teetering between formal experimentation and storytelling, adding a unique flavor to Giovanni’s idiosyncratic personality. While not universally appealing, the documentary stands out as a compelling journey into a unique life and perspective, sparking diverse reactions among viewers. In summary, it receives acclaim for its Afrofuturist style, character study, and poetic treatments, although opinions on its formal experimentation vary.
Stream on Max


Deadlocked: How America Shaped The Supreme Court

“Deadlocked” is an insightful exploration of the Supreme Court’s evolution over 75 years. It’s an essential and substantial four-part documentary series providing key insights into the Supreme Court’s decisions and battles that shaped the country. Dawn Porter, the acclaimed documentarian behind the series, showcases her versatility and commitment to impactful storytelling by tackling the broader history of the Supreme Court.

Stream on Paramount+/Showtime


BS High

The Bishop Sycamore Centurions find themselves playing a nationally televised football game on ESPN in 2021. However, questions after the game reveal that Bishop Sycamore isn’t a real school at all.

Stream on Max


American Symphony

Musician Jon Batiste sets out to compose a symphony. Then his life partner, author Suleika Jaouad, learns that her cancer is back. This documentary is a portrait of two artists at a crossroads and a meditation on art, love and the creative process.

Stream on Netflix


Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip Hop

Rappers, writers and experts detail the influence of women on hip-hop music and culture in this docuseries honoring the trailblazers and game-changers.



Welcome to Rap City

This EPIC 3-part documentary series that delves into the birth, evolution, and revolution of Rap City! The show that shaped a generation and pushed Hip Hop Culture to the mainstream.

Stream on fuboTV, BET+



All About The Biz

The documentary explores Biz Markie’s personality and contribution to hip hop. It’s a celebration of a lovable weirdo who made people happy. A cogent, affectionate and largely apt tribute to Markie, the D.J. and rapper who was known as a gifted beatboxer.

Stream on Showtime

Rewind & Play

“Rewind & Play” offers a raw glimpse into Thelonious Monk’s life, showcasing revealing footage and a soulful solo performance. The documentary delves behind the scenes, providing a deeper understanding of the jazz musician’s life.

Stream on Prime Video


The story of baseball megastar Reggie Jackson as he contemplates his legacy as one of the first iconic black athletes, a pioneer in the fight for dignity, respect and a place at the table.

Stream on Prime Video


Never Say Never with Jeff Jenkins

Travel journalist Jeff Jenkins travels the world testing the limits of his physical abilities; throughout his global odyssey, Jeff makes deep connections with locals and learns not just about the world, but also about himself.

Stream on Hulu, Disney+, Nat Geo


The 1619 Project

“The 1619 Project,” a six-episode docuseries by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and executive produced by Oprah Winfrey, delves into the complex narrative of America. It explores the profound impact of slavery on America’s history and its enduring legacy. Through personal narratives, it emphasizes the foundational role of Black Americans in shaping the country’s ideals of freedom and democracy. It also touches on themes of patriotism, the ongoing struggle for justice, and the call for reparations.

Stream on Hulu

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