7 Juneteenth shows and movies to check out with a VPN

Juneteenth Freedom Day banner
(Image credit: Getty Images)

June 19th, or Juneteenth, marks the end of more than 200 years of slavery in the United States. Today, it's a federal holiday that has an important place on the international calendar, prompting discussion of the black experience in the United States and ongoing systemic racism.

It's also a time to celebrate black excellence across all sorts of mediums—films and movies included. I've rounded up the best Juneteenth movies to tune into this year (though they don’t all have a direct link to the holiday), highlighting black filmmakers, actors, and stories that span genres. Whether you're into dramas, biopics, documentaries, or horror flicks, there's bound to be a show or movie that'll catch your eye.

Depending on where you are in the world, you might need the help of one of the best VPNs to check out my recommendations—but don't worry. Today's top services are designed to be easy to use, even if you're totally new to the world of VPNs, and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee you can use to get a feel for the service before committing to a long-term plan.

1. Miss Juneteenth (2020) 

Available to watch on: Amazon Prime, YouTube

Channing Godfrey Peoples' directorial debut arrived on our screens on the 55th anniversary of the Juneteenth holiday, garnering widespread critical acclaim. The movie centers around an ex-pageant queen and her teenage daughter competing for the eponymous "Miss Juneteenth" title.

Peoples' vision is an ode to black women and the (sometimes tricky) bonds of family, and puts the spotlight on a pageant that doesn't receive the same flowers as the more widely-known Miss America.

2. Fruitvale Station (2014) 

Available to watch on: Amazon Prime, Apple TV, ITVX

In 2009, Oscar Grant was fatally shot in the back by a Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) police officer in Oakland California's Fruitvale Station. The movie recreates these events, including the day preceding the shooting, creating an evocative snapshot into the life of the 22-year-old.

Fruitvale Station also offers commentary on how America's criminal justice system is especially harsh to black men—and that black men convicted of crimes and summoned to court often don't make it to their trial date at all.

Logan Browning attends the premier of the Netflix Original Series Dear White People Volume 3

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Dear White People (2017 - 2021) 

Available to watch on: Netflix

Dear White People became a viral sensation a few years back, spinning up a new television series based on the 2014 movie of the same name. Based in a fictional university, the show highlights the massively different experiences of its students, varying depending on their race.

The multi-season show focuses on a group of black students and takes aim at racial discrimination through a provocative and progressive lens. There's plenty of humor baked into the social commentary, too, and refreshingly frank discussions led by young black voices. 

4. Losing Ground (1982) 

Available to watch on: Amazon Prime

Despite the fact that the movie has since been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, Losing Ground was never released in cinemas back in 1982. Kathleen Collins' seminal work was the first feature film directed by a black woman in almost 60 years—it was shown at film festivals but, unfortunately, did not gain mainstream recognition until after Collins' death in 1988.

Losing Ground is a candid biography of a troubled married couple, a professor and a painter, who take a trip together over the summer. Tackling themes such as infidelity, infatuation, and familial ties from a female perspective, the movie is now (and always has been) a cornerstone of black cinema.

5. 13th (2016) 

Available to watch on: Netflix

Ava DuVernay's documentary on the prison-industrial complex is thought-provoking and sometimes hard to stomach—reflecting the engrained racial injustice in America's judicial system. The documentary invites politicians and activists to look back at how the 13th Amendment has impacted prison in the present day, and how specific criminalized behaviors have perpetuated the condemnation of black Americans.

If you've ever been uncertain about how racial prejudice is baked into the American constitution, the US prison boom, or wanted to learn more about the importance of equality, the Oscar-nominated 13th is a must-watch.

6. Selma (2015) 

Available to watch on: Amazon Prime

No Juneteenth discussion is complete without Martin Luther King Jr, and Selma, another Ava DuVernay standout, follows the Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches of 1965.

Throughout the movie, King is portrayed (by David Oyelowo) as a three-dimensional man, complete with flaws and all, rather than just a figurehead—a fact that makes DuVernay and Oyelowo's 2015 Oscar snub all the more grating.

Ava DuVernay at the Hammer Museum's Gala

(Image credit: Getty Images)

7. Get Out (2017) 

Available to watch on: Amazon Prime, Netflix, YouTube

Switching genres for my final pick, Get Out is Jordan Peele's stellar directorial debut and a skin-crawling commentary on "color blindness" in a predominantly white society.

Without spoiling too much, the horror story centers on Chris Washington as he meets his girlfriend's white family for the first time. Instead of confronting predictable caricature, Washington finds that the family are genteel liberals, underscoring Get Out’s message that it's not just extreme groups that perpetuate racial prejudices—ignorance and complacency can be just as damaging. Get Out is a wild ride from start to finish (with a fantastic ending twist).


Which is the best VPN?

NordVPN is our top-rated VPN—and for good reason. It's an awesome blend of speed and security that won’t break the bank. It's also my favorite Netflix VPN. I’ve never had a problem with buffering or low-quality streams, and servers in 111 countries mean you can check out what’s available elsewhere in the world in just a few clicks. 

How do I unblock movies?

Unblocking shows and movies might seem like a really techy task at first, but a streaming VPN makes it a piece of cake. Once you've decided on a provider, downloaded the app, and signed in, all you need to do is take a look at the VPN's server list and take your pick. If the movie you want to watch is only available on UK Netflix, for example, you'll want to choose a VPN server in the UK.

Hit that connect button, wait a moment, and then refresh your streaming platform. It'll think you’re in the same location as the server you chose and show you all the content available in that particular country—including that one movie you’ve had on your to-watch list for ages.

Will a VPN slow me down?

A VPN can have an impact on your internet speeds, seeing as it encrypts all of your web traffic to prevent third-party snooping, but if you stick to the fastest VPNs, you won’t notice a difference. All of TechRadar’s top-rated services have been through rigorous speed tests to ensure that they can keep up with HD streaming—because nobody likes watching the dreaded buffering wheel do its thing. 


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1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
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We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

River Hart
Tech Software Editor

River is a Tech Software Editor and VPN expert at TechRadar. They’re on-hand to keep VPN and cybersecurity content up-to-date and accurate. When they’re not helping readers find the best VPNs around (and the best deals), River can be found in close proximity to their PS5 or being pushed about the countryside by the lovely Welsh weather.