Film Rental

How It Feels to Be Free

Available to view 12 am on June 17 through 12 am on June 19.


Directed by Yoruba Richen (USA, 2020, 113 min.). Digital.

How It Feels to Be Free takes an unprecedented look at the intersection of African American women artists, politics, and entertainment. Based on the book How It Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement by Ruth Feldstein, the films tells the story of how six trailblazing women—Lena Horne (the first Black woman signed to a major studio), Abbey Lincoln (the “Black Marilyn Monroe” turned protest singer and activist), Diahann Carroll (the first Black woman to both win a Tony Award and star in her own TV series in a role other than a maid), Nina Simone (the revolutionary musical prodigy), Cicely Tyson (the proud race woman who used her art as a form of protest), and Pam Grier (the first female action hero)—changed American culture through their films, fashion, music, and politics.

Watch the trailer

Filmmaker Q and A

A prerecorded video Q and A is included with this film rental.


Rent 3 or more films in one transaction and get a $1 discount on each film.

Film Rental Information

This film cannot be rented outside the United States and is available to watch only during the period specified. Once rented, the film may be viewed on the Video Content page.