We believe art reflects the world around us. We have picked a series of films and documentaries which tackle the institutionalized racism which is running rampant in our country. We can do better, for that we must be educated.
Art is a responsibility it is a platform to reflect the world around us. We hope these films and documentaries open up discussion in your homes, in your friendships and in your own mind. These films and documentaries aren’t “easy” viewing but we as a nation have a responsibility to learn. If you find a topic difficult to watch, just imagine the real stories of the people who lived them.
Our list begins with Fruitvale Station:
Though he once spent time in San Quentin, 22-year-old black man Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) is now trying hard to live a clean life and support his girlfriend (Melonie Diaz) and young daughter (Ariana Neal). Flashbacks reveal the last day in Oscar’s life, in which he accompanied his family and friends to San Francisco to watch fireworks on New Year’s Eve, and, on the way back home, became swept up in an altercation with police that ended in tragedy. Based on a true story.
After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian’s life. Based on a true story.
When They See Us:
Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they‘re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story.
American Son is directed by Kenny Leon and starring Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan and Eugene Lee. The film is based on the Broadway play of the same name. Its writer, Christopher Demos-Brown, also wrote the film. *Though not based on a true story per say…it is a unique and heart breaking look into the experiences of black mothers in America and should not be missed.
A documentary on the 1992 LA Riots.
Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
A shocking documentary on the 13th amendment.
Jean Seberg was an actress who became a donator and avid supporter to the Black Panther movement. Her personal life was destroyed by the FBI as they supported the racist agenda of a flawed system, her death remains an unsolved murder. This is based on a true story. Allies have been targeted when they have voiced their support of dismantling racism as well.
A tribute to the controversial black activist and leader of the struggle for black liberation. He hit bottom during his imprisonment in the ’50s, he became a Black Muslim and then a leader in the Nation of Islam. His assassination in 1965 left a legacy of self-determination and racial pride.
The saddest part is this fictional account is still a part of our current history. This film was released in 1988.
Stories are powerful. They merge and share our humanity. While we in noway mean to imply that watching a single film can erase racism they are a gateway to seeing and understanding the issues. Be an ally educate yourself, whether it be through film, books, documentaries, or volunteering. Lets all build a better, stronger community.