Photo illustration by Kaushik Kalidindi for Okayplayer.
A Guide to Getting into the Best Black Movies on Tubi
Tubi is keeping the energy of bootleg movies alive. We've scoured its extensive library and have come up with a brief selection of new indie Black movies that reflect what the app has to offer.
There remains a glimmer of hope for movie fanatics who cherish the occasional off-beat film. It’s the movies that come to mind when you think of the infamous “bootleg man” selling DVDs of low-budget yet entertaining films, and although these figures aren’t as common as they used to be, there’s one streaming service in particular that’s keeping the energy of bootleg movies alive — Tubi. The Los Angeles-based streaming service boasts itself as "the leading free, premium, on-demand video streaming app," with an extensive library of "over 50,000 movies and television shows."
Yet, Tubi isn't just another streaming service. It's a treasure trove of nostalgic and entertaining content from yesteryear, with New York Times critic Nicolas Rapold calling it, “the latest successors to basic cable thrillers, straight-to-video, Lifetime movies, and low-budget B-cinema.” It's a space where beloved classics from Bad Girls Clubto shoestring budget Black movie gems like Pootie Tang, Booty Call, and Love and Basketball can live and thrive decades after their debut.
Tubi goes beyond the mainstream and offers a diverse selection of content, ranging from indie films and homemade reality shows to iconic Blaxploitation flicks and engaging biopics. But Tubi's significance goes beyond just serving as a vault for cult-favorite movies and television series. The app also provides a platform for up-and-coming Black filmmakers to share their unique interpretations of life in the hood, fostering creativity, and representation within the industry.
Now, let's be clear here. A crucial part of Tubi’s charm is how eccentric most of these movies by up-and-coming filmmakers are. You’ve seen the memes; countless clips from various movies that are meant to be taken seriously but aren’t because of an array of factors. Questionable dialogue, music cues, transition sequences — you’re bound to have at least one of these pop up in a Tubi movie, regardless of its genre. Granted, we know these filmmakers are trying to make what they can with the resources they’ve got. But it’s made for a number of scenes going viral on social media, providing comedic relief in moments the director probably didn’t intentionally have in mind.
So, to help you get into the delightfully peculiar world of Tubi, we’ve scoured its extensive library and have come up with a brief selection of new indie movies that reflect what the app has to offer. From crimes to comedies, these are some of the films Tubi has to offer.
'No Disrespect' (2023)
No Disrespect | No One Takes What He Built | Official Trailer | Now Streaming [4K]www.youtube.com
No Disrespect is an eccentric drug-dealing crime drama — somewhere between Training Day and Juice if they were both set in Atlanta — shot with a shoestring budget. Spiced up with the comical elements of a badly shot telenovela and questionable animation, the film is centered around the lives of three brothers, each charting their own paths after their father's imprisonment. There’s Milk, the middle child who takes over the drug business in the wake of his father's incarceration; Zay, the studious college student determined to stay on the straight and narrow; and Tony, the unemployed family man resorting to extreme measures like prostitution to pay the bills. Though the scenes are meant to be gripping and intense, the movie manages to elicit a few laughs and some raised eyebrows, like a man getting shot in the groin during a botched drug deal at the beginning of the movie. Amid the twists and turns, No Disrespect is sure to keep you entertained until its surprising finale, which justifies your decision to watch this unusual concoction of genres.
OFFICIAL BISSONNET TRAILERwww.youtube.com
Houston is infamously known for sex trafficking, and its most treacherous stretch of road where prostitution takes place is Bissonnet Street. Bissonnet is a gripping tale that brings these harsh street realities to life, as Drea, a young woman, finds herself teetering on the edge of desperation. Having recently hit rock bottom financially, she's left with no other option but to navigate the gritty world of Bissonnet, a notorious strip known for its fast money and the high cost it exacts on those who venture into its danger.
Karma // Official Trailerwww.youtube.com
Karma is about a woman who is kicked out of her home for revealing a big family secret — her father is a predator. Now out on the streets, she has to fight to survive. With unexpected twists and turns, the film shows how karma always comes back around and never loses an address.
'God Forgives, I Don’t' (2023)
God Forgives, I Don't | Official Trailer | A Tubi Originalwww.youtube.com
There’s no betrayal like divine betrayal. In church, drama takes on a life of its own. When a charismatic social media pastor becomes an internet sensation and decides to establish his own church, he finds himself in a web of lies, greed, deceit, and betrayal. As the greed of his wife and the hidden sins of his closest friend unravel, the once holy house of the Lord is plunged into turmoil and chaos. God Forgives, I Don’t definitely snuck under the radar, but the ending won’t disappoint.
'Dogface: A Trap House Horror' (2021)
DOGFACE : A TRAPHOUSE HORROR - FEATURE FILM TRAILERwww.youtube.com
“It’s not cheap, it’s affordable,” is the line to remember in this funny horror flick. Horror movies span a spectrum from bone-chilling to downright absurd, and Dogface appears to land somewhere in the middle. With a disregard for continuity, Dogface invites you on an expedition through Atlanta, following the story of a reformed individual named Hondo as he acquires a haunted trap house. The film's surprises and intricacies lead you on an unforeseen adventure, with an ending that will leave you bewildered. Although there aren’t any jump scares, Dogface is a gem that will keep you on your toes.
'PPP Loan Gone' (2022)
PPP Loan Gone - Trailerwww.youtube.com
Gone are the days when Americans could simply apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans during the pandemic. Adapted into a hood flick, this movie feels like Janky Promoters reimagined, as it tells a story of the consequences of a scheme influenced by friendship. The movie centers around Jacob Stone, who becomes entangled in a web of deceit orchestrated by his best friend, Shaun Murray, to secure a PPP loan using falsified information. Comedy of the year goes to this unexpected gem.
'The Stepmother' (2022)
The Stepmother | Official Trailer | A Tubi Originalwww.youtube.com
Love and Hip-Hop veteran Erica Mena takes a break from her reality TV confessionals, and ventures into the world of acting in this indie film. In The Stepmother, Mena stars as an evil stepmother named Zoey alongside Marques Houston, who portrays a widowed father named Eddie. Eddie is determined to find a new beginning for himself and his son Scott, after the devastating loss of his wife. The film follows their journey as they move to a new town, all while confronting the challenges with Zoey's presence in their lives. The Stepmother is a classic case of “woman gone mad,” as it’s revealed that Zoey is a drug-addicted psycho who targets widowed men with teenage sons because she seeks vengeance for her troubled past. If you’re able to get past the subpar acting and the bad wigs, the plot reveals a woman on a warpath.
'All I Want Is You' Part 1 & 2 (2023)
All I Want Is You (Trailer)www.youtube.com
Talk show host Claudia Jordan becomes prison inmate Chloe in this crime drama. Having stood by her partner Son throughout his extensive four-year stint in prison, Chloe is now prepared to jeopardize everything, as a rival woman (his parole officer) attempts to take him from her. Chloe goes to jail for shooting her and loses contact with Son in the process. When she gets out of jail, she finds that Son hasn’t only married the parole officer, but he has a son with her, too, culminating in a tragic moment that shows how far Chloe’s crimes of passion go.
'Deadly DILF' (2023)
Deadly DILF | Official Trailer | A Tubi Originalwww.youtube.com
Some harmless flirting between Elysium, a freshman college student, and Rio, the alluring father residing next door, takes a tragic twist in the hilariously-titled Deadly DILF. Elysium's infatuation intensifies following a passionate one-night affair with Rio, and upon recognizing his lack of interest, she devises a plan to wreck his life. Yet, the question arises: are her actions morally justifiable? Rio’s wrongdoing transforms him into a magnet for misfortune, and Deadly DILF shows how dire things get for him all the way until its end.
'Locked In' (2023)
Locked In Official Trailer (2021)www.youtube.com
In an unexpected twist of fate, the lives of four women take a bewildering turn when they awaken in a locked basement, their pasts erased like an empty canvas. What begins as a perplexing ordeal soon unfolds into a comedy of errors, albeit against all odds. These women, unknowingly linked through their romantic entanglements with one enigmatic man, find themselves competing for his affections, and the absurdity of their predicament leads to unexpected humor. As the basement becomes the battleground for his affection, one woman's determination to be the sole recipient of his love turns fatal.
Shelby Stewart is a writer from Houston, Texas passionate about covering stories on Southern culture. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her championing Westside Gunn lyrics. You can follow her on Twitter @ShelbyLnStewart.
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