The Black Lives Matter protests are passionately continuing in our own state of Washington along with Oregon, New York, and more. It’s apparent that the nation is still working towards bringing justice to our systemically racist government and police force. Black culture has brought attention to these racist constructs in every feasible art-medium you can imagine. Since the widespread efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement, Netflix has added a category on their platform under the same name to feature key Black films.
In the Black Lives Matter category on Netflix, you’ll find a sizeable selection of shows, documentaries, and films that depict or shed light on racism in America. We’ve picked out five documentaries and films that you can absorb in one sitting. These enlightening features might pair well with a sedative indica such as any Wedding Cake variety that could potentially lock you into the couch for maximum focus.
13th is an American documentary that came out in 2016. Under the direction of Ava DuVernay, the film is an exploration into the “intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States.” The documentary gets its name from the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that eliminated slavery and put an end to involuntary servitude…unless it’s as a punishment for the conviction of a crime.
Rodney King came out in 2017 and is a one-man show that Spike Lee directed. The film was written by Roger Guenveur Smith, and also stars him. In the chilling one-man performance, you can find Smith taking on a multitude of voices that both take and oppose Rodney King’s side. As a refresher, on March 3, 1991, Rodney King was savagely beaten by the police following a high-speed chase for drunk driving. At a press conference, the LA police chief said, “We believe the officers used excessive force taking him into custody. In our review, we find that officers struck him with batons between fifty-three and fifty-six times.”
Strong Island is directed by Yance Ford and centers around the April 1992 murder of Ford’s brother William. Ford’s 24-year-old Black brother was a teacher in New York that was shot in cold blood by a white employee of a chop shop. After coming on repeated occasions to speak up about poor repair jobs, William Ford Jr. was gunned down by the white 19-year-old employee Mark P. Reilly with a .22 rifle.
Teach Us All
Teach Us All is a documentary produced by the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes. It also serves as a social justice campaign on educational equality. By using the 1957 Little Rock school crisis, the film looks at how schools still largely remain segregated, despite the outcome of Brown v. Board of Education.
Get On The Bus
Another Spike Lee joint, Get On The Bus is a 1996 drama that features a group of Black men who are embarking on a cross-country bus trip to reach the Million Man March. 15 men board a bus in Los Angeles bound for Washington D.C. to participate in the historic march with nothing in common. The film explores several topics surrounding racism through the character development of each member aboard the bus and their interactions with each other as they head towards D.C. Get On The Bus premiered on the one-year anniversary of the Million Man March.