15 Movies and Shows About Race – Black Lives – You Need to Watch

By: Hagar Ezzo

Before I begin, let me just say that this discussion is not over, it is not a social media trend, it is a real life problem that has been around for centuries that so many people have struggled with. People of color – especially Black people, all around the world – have been oppressed and robbed of so many opportunities, but also their very lives. I can’t begin to imagine what they’re going through, but as non-black people of color ourselves, we have a duty to educate ourselves on what’s happening and ways through which we can help. So, here is a list of shows and movies you can watch to educate yourself on issues of racism, specifically concerning Black people.

1. When They See Us 

A show based on the real life Central Park incident that took place on April 19, 1989 shows us what it’s like to be a suspect of a crime you didn’t commit. It’s brutal, cruel, and definitely shows you the evil side of authority. 

2. The Hate U Give 

THE HATE YOU GIVE film still

The Hate U Give tells you the story of a young girl who decides to stand up for what is right after seeing her black friend getting fatally shot by the police. It shows us police brutality and racism are more common than we thought. It’s also a novel too, for all you bookworms out there. 

3. Twelve Years A Slave 

Trust me when I say, this one will definitely stick with you. 12 Years A Slave is a memoir by Solomon Northup written in 1853, who thought he was being offered a job in Washington DC, but found out he was actually being sold into slavery. It was made into a movie in 2013. 

4. Hidden Figures

HIDDEN FIGURES, from left: Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, 2017. ph: Hopper Stone /TM and © copyright Fox 2000 Pictures. All rights reserved./Courtesy Everett Collection

Another book made movie, Hidden Figures is about 3 African-American mathematician women who work at NASA. Even with their brilliance, they still have to face racial and gender discrimination in the workplace. Kind of fucked up, huh? 

5. 13th 


Directed by the same woman who directed When They See Us, 13th gives us an in-depth look at the history of the United States prison system and how racist it’s always been. How prisons are filled with innocent people, but charged guilty because of the color of their skin. 

6. Moonlight 

Highlighting the black LGBTQ+ Community, this movie shows us the trauma black men go through, and not just from police brutality. 

7. Dear White People 

A netflix show based off the movie of the same name focuses on a group of Black students attending a mostly white university. With brutal honesty and sarcasm to highlight issues such as social injustice, LGBTQ+ issues and acceptance, stereotyping and colorism within the black community, Dear White People is a show you should definitely have on your Watch list. 

8. Loving 

This movie tells us the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who were arrested because of their interracial marriage in 1958. Their case ultimately led to the end of the laws banning interracial marriages, which shows us that fighting for what you love really does make a difference. 

9. Just Mercy 

Michael B. Jordan plays a defense attorney to an innocent black man who is sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s based on a true story (let’s be real, it’s probably based on thousands of true stories) and will definitely break your heart. 

10. Fruitvale Station 

Another movie starring Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station puts us in the shoes of Oscar Grant III, who was killed by a police officer in 2009 in Oakland, CA. 

11. Belle 

Taking place in the 18th century (a bit farther back than the rest of these movies), Belle is about a real-life biracial woman who was born from a Navy Admiral and a slave woman. Raised by her aristocratic uncle, she grows up to end slavery in England. Pretty badass if you ask me. 

12. Malcom X 

An autobiographical movie about the Black activist made in 1992, but is still more important and relevant than ever today. 

13. Seven Seconds 

Seven Seconds

A heartbreaking series about a black teen who was run over by a cop and left for dead, Seven Seconds shows the start of an outrage, with protests and coverups, it’s scarily accurate and makes you really question the justice system. 

14. Whose Streets? 

A documentary about the Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson highlights the women and queer people involved in the movement, making sure they aren’t erased from the history of the BLM Movement. 

15. BlacKkKlansman 

Being recruited as the first african-american detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, Ron Stallsworth sets out to expose the KKK, along with his newly recruited colleague, Flip Zimmerman. 

While watching these shows and movies is optional, some people don’t have a choice but to face the discussed issues in real life. There is no more room for being ignorant, it’s 2020, it’s time to wake up and educate ourselves. It’s time we realize skin color doesn’t determine a person’s right to life. It takes a few seconds to make a difference. So sign a petition, use your platform for good, be the voice you want to hear.

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