Films to Watch Post Black History Month

Although Black History Month is coming to an end, we must continue to push for diversity and inclusion in all fields of the entertainment industry. By sharing some of our favorite films and shows directed by or with a diverse cast we promote values that are invaluable to social progression.

Movies and TV Shows are a large part of today’s conversations. Entertainment is part of many people’s self care routine and by viewing content we are proud to promote we shift social conversations that must be had.

Such conversations can defy stigma and be about the lack of inclusivity or diversity in mainstream media, or the exaggerated stereotypes on TV. Discussing these topics has led to more representation and more diverse creators in the entertainment industry worth mentioning.

Becoming (2020) is a film adaptation of Michelle Obama’s autobiography Becoming, which highlights some of the most pivotal moments in the former First Lady’s life.

It is also filled with encouragement for young adults, with Michelle Obama stating, “I want to keep working with young people, the future of our nation is up to the next generation but I know that doesn’t just happen. Young people need some encouragement,” (Becoming 2020).

During times of COVID-19 and other challenges the younger generation faces, encouragement from political leaders is crucial. So is representation, so having the first Black First Lady be a figure of support for all young adults and children intensifies its effect for POC.

Children are also susceptible to stigma and stereotyping, hence, it is important that we encourage them to view diverse films such as Black Panther (2018) starring outstanding actors Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, among others. Having actors that are passionate about social justice play characters that our younger children look up to is essential.

In Chadwick Boseman’s 2019 SAG awards acceptance speech he stated, “Yet you are young, gifted and Black. We know what it’s like to be told there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on… We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above. That is what we went to work with every day because we knew… that we had something special that we wanted to give the world… That we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see.”

Another film to watch to commemorate the final days of Black History Month is Time: The Kalief Browder Story (2017). Kalief Browder was incarcerated at New York’s Rikers Island, spending two years in solitary confinement, without being convicted of any crime.

In light of his confinement, rapper Jay-Z said, “I think it’s very clear that solitary confinement, for a 16-year-old, is wrong to every single person in here. It’s inhumane” (Stop Solitary For Kids). This documentary is for mature audiences, as it contains themes of depression, suicide, police brutality, and more.

Kalief Browder’s story echoes the story of many Black incarcerated men that have no judicial support whatsoever and fall through the cracks of social justice. Venida Browder, Kalief Browder’s mother, once stated, “I don’t want his story to die. I don’t want people to forget who Kalief Browder was… the system needs to be changed because there are a lot of Kaliefs out there” (Stop Solitary For Kids).

Another example of police brutality and total judicial failure toward Black citizens is portrayed in the film When They See Us (2019). Based on a true story, it is about five young Black men who were wrongly convicted of a crime and their strenuous fight for freedom. It reflects the manipulation and abuse it took to keep these boys incarcerated unjustly. Korey Wise stated, “they said if I was there and if I went along with it, that I could go home. And that’s all I wanted. That’s all I wanted, was to go home. That’s all I still want” (When They See Us 2019). These young men were emotionally and psychologically traumatized for the sole purpose of oppression and racist intent.

Despite Black History Month coming to an end, educating ourselves on Black issues and culture does not end there. While we practice self care, relaxation time, or quality time with our loved ones, we can view educational documentaries or films on issues that pertain to our society’s current state. Hence, here are some suggestions to keep us entertained, well informed, and on our toes.