*Also on Netflix*
About: 13th is a 2016 American documentary film by director Ava DuVernay. The film explores the “intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States;” it is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the United States and ended involuntary servitude except as a punishment for conviction of a crime.
DuVernay contends that slavery has been perpetuated since the end of the American Civil War through criminalizing behavior and enabling police to arrest poor freedmen and force them to work for the state under convict leasing; suppression of Black people by disenfranchisement, lynchings, and Jim Crow; politicians declaring a war on drugs that weighs more heavily on minority communities and, by the late 20th century, mass incarceration of people of color in the United States. She examines the prison-industrial complex and the emerging detention-industrial complex, discussing how much money is being made by corporations from such incarcerations.
Available on Netflix
About: Frantic with worry, Kendra Ellis-Connor (Kerry Washington) paces the waiting area of a Miami police station. Her 18-year-old son Jamal, a top student about to enter West Point, went out with friends early in the evening and, uncharacteristically, has neither returned nor contacted her. As she waits for her estranged husband Scott (Steven Pasquale), Kendra is interviewed by Officer Paul Larkin (Jeremy Jordan), who assures her that his questions about whether Jamal has priors, a street name, or gold teeth are strictly protocol and not racist. Larkin suddenly discloses new details regarding Jamal’s whereabouts when Scott arrives, not initially realizing that this white FBI agent is Jamal’s father. As the three hash it out in the otherwise deserted waiting area, urgent questions arise concerning the degree to which race, gender, and class play into police procedure.
Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
Available on Amazon
About: The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 is a 2011 documentary film, directed by Göran Olsson, that examines the evolution of the Black Power movement in American society from 1967 to 1975 as viewed through Swedish journalists and filmmakers. It features footage of the movement shot by Swedish journalists in America between 1967–1975 with appearances by Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, and other activists, artists, and leaders central to the movement.
Available on Amazon
About: This bold US indie about urban life and police violence owes equal amounts to performance poetry and knife-edge thrillers. Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. He and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), work as movers, and when Collin witnesses a police shooting, the two men’s friendship is tested as they grapple with identity and their changed realities in the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood they grew up in.
Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent for free in June in the U.S.
King In The Wilderness — HBO
See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent for free in June in the U.S.
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Available to rent for free
When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix