Black Lives Matter: The best TV shows handling the subject
With the tragedies that continue to unfold in communities of color across North America, a good person can no longer stand idly by and remain uneducated on this important issue. Whether you’re Black, Indigenous, or any beautiful flavor of non-white in America, you can’t deny the importance of the Black Lives Matters movement.
Since 2013, Black Lives Matter has grown into a global movement and is on the cusp of shaking the structure of American life. For those who have only just learned of this movement, here are a couple of great shows to catch you up on what BLM means and why we need it.
Dear White People (Netflix)
Dear White People is a comedic drama that follows a number of black students as they pursue their studies at an Ivy League institution. At the beginning, we feel like we’re about to watch Community, but as the black characters interact with the entitled students and racist faculty it becomes clear that these young kids have an uphill battle to fight.
When They See Us (Netflix)
The premise of When They See Us is taken from real life events that took place in 1989. Five young black men were prosecuted for the sexual assault for a female jogger, four of which were convicted of rape and sentenced to maximum terms. The series shows how the boys were coerced into confessing and how the judicial system failed to fulfill its role as a system that guarantees just & fair treatment for all.
Noughts and Crosses -(BBC)
This show is pretty cool and quite different from the others on our list. Noughts and Crosses takes place in an alternate timeline where many West African nations have joined together and colonized Europe. The result is a show that can openly deal with racism, regardless of the perpetrators.
This series forces us to confront the problems of racism as an ideology, instead of focusing on the particulars of how it manifests against certain groups.
From the genius of Donald Glover, Atlanta portrays the complexity of living in Atlanta, Georgia as an African-American. With the perfect mix of comedy & drama, Atlanta follows Earn and his circle of relationships, as he tries to carve out a better life for him & his daughter. Full of Glover’s characteristic charm, Atlanta gives us the hard realities of living as an African-American in America, while still managing to keep us smiling at the beauty of everyday life.
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story (Paramount Network)
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story is a powerful documentary that focuses on the killing of Trayvon Martin by a Florida officer. This moment birthed the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and reinvigorated the battle against systemic racism.
For those with no previous exposure to these topics, Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story provides a powerful primer on why we need this movement and what kinds of change needs to happen so that we have a better world for everyone.
America to Me (Starz)
America to Me is a unique look into the lives of students at Oak Park and River Forest High School in the suburb of Oak Park, Illinois. This docuseries follows several black & biracial students throughout a full school year to see how students of different races perceive and are perceived by the school system.
Although the school takes pride in its liberal & diverse culture, America to Me shows just how lost some well-meaning individuals can become when working within a framework that has systemic problems. Though the school is liberal & diverse, the division between white & non-white students is a shock, even for some of the teachers working there.
America to Me raises the question: if American schools are so clueless, then what can be said about their less open institutions?