Sharing Black Stories: 7 Must-Watch Movies and Shows
In honor of Black History Month we are sharing Black stories by rounding up 7 must-watch movies and shows that highlight black voices, specifically, stories of those whose activism has made, and continues to make, an impact today.
While we highlight these advocates this month in particular, it is important to remember Black history is a part of American history, and should be taught and honored year round. Remembering this history is crucial to working toward a better future. So, use this list as a starting point, then continue learning and taking action from there.
7 Must-Watch Movies and Shows Featuring Black Advocates
Just Mercy is based on the true story of young civil rights attorney and Harvard graduate, Bryan Stevenson, who heads to Alabama to defend the wrongly condemned who were not afforded proper representation. The movie revolves around Walter McMillian who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder despite a lack of evidence to convict him. Stevenson must battle through a labyrinth of injustice and racism as he fights for McMillian’s life.
Learn more about the incredible film and story that inspired it at justmercyfilm.com
Self-Made on Netflix
Self-Made is the 2020 Netflix Series inspired by the life of Madam C.J. Walker. Octavia Spencer stars in the series about an African American washerwoman living in poverty who works tirelessly to build a beauty empire and becomes the first female self-made millionaire.
After watching, read and listen to Madam C.J. Walker’s great, great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles talk about fact versus fiction regarding Self-Made.
The Death and Life of Martha P. Johnson on Netflix
This film follows the activist Victoria Cruz as she fights violence against trans folks and probes the suspicious death of her friend and lifelong black trans activist Martha P. Johnson.
13th is a must watch film in understanding the ways in which slavery and racism, although in a less tangibable form, continue to exist today in America. The documentary directed by Ava DuVernay examines the prison industrial complex and emerging detention industrial complex while demonstrating the history and current practices of racial inequality.
Watch the trailer here.
King Richard is a biopic that tells the tale of Venus and Serena Williams’ rise to success through the push of their father Richard Williams. The film explores the backlash and resistance faced as the black, female athletes defied expectations and made history.
Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland
This HBO documentary examines the case of Sandra Bland, a 28 year old African American woman who was arrested for a traffic stop and found dead in her jail cell three days later. After the release of dashcam footage from her traffic stop, Bland’s case led to mass protests and forced an investigation on what really happened, and the implications of this tragedy.
Watch the trailer and find additional resources here.
Colin in Black and White
Colin in Black and White is a six episode series on Netflix narrated by Colin Kapernick. The show depicts Colin’s younger years as he navigates race, class, and culture and explores how the now former NFL star became one of America’s most talked about activists.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, these movies and series have a lot to say.
Each story of activism is unique, but all are tied together through the multitude of systemic injustices often stacked against the very cause being fought for. It is clear that the past has shaped our present day, and to see a better future it’s our turn to continue the work of the advocates before us.
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