One of the most important functions to me about a documentary is education.
They help me out when I feel like mainstream media is failing me in accuracy of their news & stories. During this critical time where Millennials have an urgency for information, short films give you the opportunity to walk in another person’s shoes, it gives a voice to marginalized people, and most of all can inspire change through a semblance of familarity.
I’m sharing these films for those who might feel as if you’re a person of privilege – I believe these 5 documentaries are great introductions to educating yourself on how racism came to be. If Black Lives REALLY Matter than you must first educate yourself and take a look in the mirror to confront your own racial biases. Be willing to stand up and fight against racism at all times, practice what you preach, & make sure to always stay consistent.
To my fellow black brothers & sisters, in the words of Maya Angelou “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going”. Never stop educating yourself on your history; knowledge truly IS power. Use these five documentaries as motivation & inspiration to always want to make a difference. Our ancestors fought, marched and died for our rights. It is our duty and our responsibility to make things better not just for us, but for future generations to come.
1. Grass is Greener: Get hiiiiiigh babyyy! or, don’t. This documentary is first on my list because whether you’re a cannabis consumer or not, this trippy & fun film will take you on a small journey back in time to the origins of Marijuana. It showcases the influen ce cannabis has had on black music and also shows how America’s view on cannabis has shaped laws that disproportionately affect people of color.
2. 13th or Friday the 13th? I mean, Whew! This all-in powerful & educational film is mandatory to see in ALL households. If you aren’t prepared to be taken on an emotional rollercoaster like no other, I would highly suggest saving it for your day-off. This film is essential in my opinion because it will not only allow you to challenge your own misconceptions, it digs deep into the suffrage of African Americans and exposes the racial inequalities in the U.S criminal justice system.
3. Eric Garner! Sandra Bland! Breonna Taylor! George Floyd! * inserts new name* … These victims aren’t the first and definitely won’t be the last. Sometimes in the heat of the moment we tend to focus too much on the ‘What?’ instead of the ‘Why?’. I feel this older documentary is still very important especially right now because it shows issues that p eople seem to have forgotten about since I don’t know, the 1990’s? This film examines the repetitive history of oppression & discrimination here in America while showing a cause & effect of what is birthed out of decades of abuse in the black community.
4. Roll! Bounce! Rock! SegreSkate? Since the 1980’s roller skating has always been an outlet of expression, a form of neutrality and a safe haven for people in the black community. It’s positive, family and teaches respect, love & unity. How could a physical activity so simple as rolling on wheels be plagued by something like segregation? United Skates is an eye opening film because if you’re unfamiliar with this subculture it gives you a chance to enjoy the life of this vibrant culture while simultaneously shedding a light on how discrimination can affect even the most harmless recreational spaces.
5. Each One Teach One. A slogan or phrase I’m sure many of us has heard by now but what does it actually mean to you? Think back to your most recent school years & ask yourself “Has anything really changed?” If our siblings and children are the future, why does segregation & educational inequality still linger around our school system over 60 years after Brown vs Board?. Teach Us All isn’t just a great film to watch with your beautiful children but a must see if you really want to understand the reality that many black Americans are still facing today.