The final days of Black History Month are quickly approaching and what better way to appreciate the culture than with a marathon of Netflix movies about the black experience. Here are 10 movies to binge-watch this week (in no particular order):
1. 13th (2016)
Documentary directed by Ava Duvernay is titled after the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which supposedly abolished slavery. The film explores the history of racial inequality in America, focusing on the U.S. prison system and how it has become a form of discrimination against black people in this country.
This is a must-see for any and everybody. It does a great job of covering a dense amount of information. The full history lesson many of us never received.
2. Imperial Dreams (2014)
I purposely listed this directly after the 13th documentary because it perfectly illustrates the effect of mass incarceration on the black community, even after serving their time.
Imperial Dreams tells the story of 21-year-old reformed gangster Bambi who desires a better life for himself and his family. After his release from jail, Bambi has to return to his old neighborhood in Watts, Los Angeles; the life he wants so badly to leave behind. Bambi wants to be a writer and a great father to his son, Daytone, but crime and poverty are blocking his path. Not to mention, a very flawed system that is making it nearly impossible for him to rehabilitate.
3. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011)
This 2011 documentary takes a look at the evolution of the Black Power Movement in American society in the late 60s-early 70s. The film focuses on the power of art, music, and activism, including various commentaries and interviews with some prominent people during this time like: Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, and Huey P. Newton (just to name a few).
4. Barry (2016)
This is the story of a young Barack Obama during his college years. Besides further proving how great of a guy he’s always been, the film is something that we all can relate to. The struggle of identity. Finding your place and your purpose in this world. I highly recommend it.
5. Trevor Noah: African American (2013)
This comedy special brings you into the world of Trevor Noah, before his Daily Show days. Originally from South Africa, Noah talks about his bi-racial background and his journey to the United States, where he learns the ‘race issue’ was even more complex than it was back home.
6. Mandela, My Dad, And Me (2015)
Back in 2013, actor Idris Elba produced and released the album “Mi Mandela,” an album inspired by his time researching for his role as Nelson Mandela for the film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (which is also a must-see on Netflix).
This documentary follows Elba on his journey of “self-exploration” in South Africa during filming, his troubles producing the album and dealing with the death of his father.
7. Fruitvale Station (2013)
This film tells the true story of 22-year-old Oscar Grant and the events leading up to his death in the hands of a police officer. This is very relevant to today and how technology is allowing years of mistreatment by the police to be captured on video. Heartbreaking, but a must-see.
8. I Am Ali (2014)
A look inside the life of legendary professional boxer Muhammad Ali like never before. This documentary by Clare Lewins tells his story from a personal perspective, using Ali’s never-before-heard collection of recordings and interviews with the people who knew him best.
9. A Genius Leaves The Hood (2014)
The unauthorized story of rapper Jay-Z and his journey from a kid from the projects to one of music’s biggest brands in 57 minutes.
10. The Black Jacket (2016)
The documentary takes place in South Central L.A. where former Black Panther teaches a course that brings rival gang members and community outreach workers together in one room to prevent senseless violence in their communities.