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Important documentaries about the Black Lives Matter Movement you should be watching rn

With the Black Lives Matter Movement all over social media and the news, now is the perfect time to get educated on the racial history of America. This list includes 4 impactful and relevant documentaries that everyone should be watching right now. 

Warning: Many of these films include graphic or violent imagery and videos, use hateful language and include sensitive topics such as suicide—that's why it's extra-important to watch and discuss with a trusted adult in your life.

1. 13th

Where to watch: Netflix 

Why you should watch it: One in three Black men can be expected to be incarcerated in his lifetime. In this Oscar-nominated film, audiences are forced to see the American prison system for what it really is—modern day slavery. Mass incarceration is confusing, full of loopholes and often hushed up, but this documentary finally starts the conversation about the criminal justice system we all should be having. 

2. Whose Streets?

Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Kanopy

Why you should watch it:  This documentary has never been more relevant. Whose Streets is a thoughtful, brilliant film about the Ferguson uprising and subsequent birth of the Black Lives Matter Movement. After the killing of Michael Brown by police in front of his own home, his neighbors stormed the streets in protest. However, the peaceful protestors were met with militarized police and things turned violent. Still, the case gained national traction and the very movement we're currently fighting for was born. 

3. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

Where to watch: Netflix

Why you should watch it: Marsha P. Johnson, the Black, trans woman who started the Stonewall riots, was only 46 when she died. Her death was ruled a suicide but many believe it was actually a murder and a hate crime. In The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, a team of brave allies reopens and investigates her case to bring justice to the woman who spent her life fighting for gay rights. This documentary examines the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality and discusses one of the most important activists in American history. 

4. I Am Not Your Negro

Where to watch: Netflix and Kanopy

Why you should watch it:  This documentary explores the brutal racial history of America, from slavery to the Jim Crow era all the way to modern police brutality and mass incarceration. Based on the powerful words of writer and activist James Baldwin, this documentary serves as a wake-up call to non-Black Americans. 

5. The Black Panthers: Vangaurd of the Revolution

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Kanopy

Why you should watch it:  The Black Panthers are one of the most important and powerful groups in American history, and yet many people never learn about their impact. America has tried to sweep the Black Panthers under the rug, favoring a more peaceful and diplomatic lens for the Civil Rights Movement. This documentary serves as a guide to who the Panthers were, what they fought for and how the FBI attempted to stop them in their tracks. 


by Molly Greenwold | 6/29/2020