The year 2020 showed us all that the strides we thought we took towards racial equality were in reality just an illusion. Even though the focus was on the United States, a lot of other countries have a long way to go too. Black History Month starts today, February 1st (in my point of view we should learn about Black history for more than a month) so what better time to learn about black history than now. There are a lot of documentaries that talk about black struggles, black people who created the trends we love, and who are too often overlooked. As a black person myself, watching those documentaries taught me so much and I want to share it with all of you.
If you’re anything like me and spend all your time on Netflix and YouTube these days, you can easily find all these documentaries on either platform.
- Dark Girls (2011)
Dark Girls is a documentary that talks about the colorism - prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group – (Oxford English Dictionary) that exist in the black community. There are interviews of young girls, older black women, and even award-winning actresses like Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder). This documentary heavily resonated with me because of the hate I had for my skin colour when I was younger. There is also a sequel Dark Girls 2 which dives even deeper into the colorism issue.
- The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson is a Netflix documentary about the transgender and gay liberation figure Marsh P. Johnson. The film investigates her death in 1992 which was ruled a suicide but many still believe she was murdered. This documentary shows why Black Lives Matter should always be accompanied by Black Trans Lives Matter. Additionally, it shows the involvement black people had in the LGBTQ+ movement because, in my point of view, black people are way too often overlooked for the things they brought to society.
- When They See Us (2019)
When They See Us is a Netflix show about the case of the Central Park Five, now known as the Exonerated Five. The limited series tells the story of how the five men were falsely accused of and prosecuted for raping and assaulting a woman in Central Park. It shows how the American justice system has continuously failed people of color. It was hard for me to watch because I cannot stand injustice.
- Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Da 5 Bloods is a Netflix film directed by Spike Lee, and is about African American soldiers who fought during the Vietnam War at a time where Black people were still heavily discriminated against. This movie makes you rethink what you know about the Vietnam War and in my opinion, the view accentuates how overlooked black people are in American and world history.
- Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (2014)
Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People is a documentary about the power of pictures. This documentary shows how black history could’ve been remembered if Black people were actually at the center of it, through pictures that represent them and create a good legacy.