With the Black Lives Matter protests gaining widespread momentum across the world – everyone’s favourite streaming platform Netflix decided to curate dozens of films and television series created by black storytellers under the label in an effort to continue highlighting media about the Black experience.
“With an understanding that our commitment to true, systemic change will take time – we’re starting by highlighting powerful and complex narratives about the Black experience. When you log onto Netflix today, you will see a carefully curated list of titles that only begin to tell the complex and layered stories about racial injustice and Blackness in America.”
While they have thoughtfully curated an excellent collection of films and series for viewers, we have put together a list of 5 must-watch films to stream to understand the power of story-telling, especially films that celebrate and stress the importance of representation mattering.
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1. Moonlight (2016)
Chiron, a young African-American boy, finds guidance in Juan, a drug dealer, who teaches him to carve his own path. As he grows up in Miami, Juan’s advice leaves a lasting impression on him.
Starring Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali.
2. Marshall (2017)
Marshall is an American biographical legal drama film directed by Reginald Hudlin and written by Michael and Jacob Koskoff.
Thurgood Marshall is a lawyer primarily working to fight against racial prejudice. He takes on a case to defend Joseph Spell, an African American man accused of raping a wealthy Caucasian woman.
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson and James Cromwell.
3. 13th (2016)
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.
It was nominated for an Oscar and is quite relevant in today’s time.
4. Eve’s Bayou (1997)
Eve’s Bayou is an American drama film written and directed by Kasi Lemmons, who made her directorial debut with this film.
When a young girl catches her father in a compromising situation with a local woman, her subsequent revelations tear her family apart.
Starring Samuel L. Jackson and Lynn Whitfield.
5. She’s Got to Have it (1986)
She’s Gotta Have It is an American black-and-white comedy-drama film written, produced, edited and directed by Spike Lee.
It centers on Nola Darling, a Brooklyn-based artist in her late twenties struggling to define herself and divide her time amongst her friends, her job and her three lovers: The Cultured Model, Greer Childs, The Protective Investment Banker, Jamie Overstreet and Da Original B-Boy Sneakerhead, Mars Blackmon. This movie was adapted into a 2017 Netflix series.
Starring Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell and Spike Lee.