Film Lists

Best Black Films from 2020 and 2021 to Watch on MLK Day

The renaissance of Black films acknowledge the past and look towards the future

Unfortunately, racism didn't end with Civil Rights.

But as we enter a new era of activism and protest, looking back at the Civil Rights Era can be both informative and inspirational.

The endless cinema on the civil rights era can, at this point, seem redundant. And while it's important to produce contemporary Black stories instead of confining Blackness to civil rights and slavery, it's also important to celebrate the social and political wins, prominent Black role models, and the profound impact of that era on our current landscape.

Prominent figures like Martin Luther King Jr have been endlessly mythologized in history books, on film, and in the American imagination. However, the movement cannot be distilled into the lives and work of one man.

To recognize his legacy is to attempt to understand the complex efforts for Black liberation that defined the civil rights era and continue today. This means everything from understanding the political and legislative barriers that gatekeep Black Americans from participating in democracy, to being introspective about our own socialization by a racist institution.

Martin Luther King Jr day is a reminder — this year more than ever after the call to action of 2020's protests, the election, and the white supremacist insurrection — that the work is never finished, and that it's important to live our values in everything we do.

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Photo by Meg Boulden on Unsplash

As protests continue to rage throughout the nation and the world in the wake of the brutal police murder of George Floyd and in the final days of Trump's administration, more and more individuals are seeking out material to help them unlearn centuries of inherited racism.

If you're a white person, you're racist, whether you know it or not. As America finally begins to wake up to the reality of the plight of Black people, it's your job to educate yourself. While there are plenty of resources available to help you in your journey to becoming consistently anti-racist, one of the most powerful ways to learn is by taking in Black stories on film.

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