What you should be watching this weekend

Written by Adam Bryce

While the world mourns the loss of George Floyd, and many others, who have died needlessly due to a systemic racist culture within the US police department, we embrace education as an integral component in creating the change needed to put an end to racism.

It’s the weekend. If you had plans to hunker down and watch Netflix, may we suggest, instead, one of the below films which provide insight into the issues at the core of #blacklivesmatter.

Just Mercy (2019)

A film starring heavweight actors, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy is now free to stream on Amazon Prime. Based on a true story, it follows a Harvard Law graduate as he navigates his way through a heavily flawed American justice system while he works to appeal the death penalty of a black man unlawfully convicted for the murder of a white woman.

Watch it here: Amazon

Let the Fire Burn (2013)

This documentary profiles the events of May 1985 which saw the Philadelphia Police Department attempt to evict the members of the black liberation group, MOVE, from their house in a residential area. The group resisted and police unleashed gunfire, tear gas and explosives on the home, which officials — with the permission of the mayor and district attorney — opted to let burn. Five children and six adults perished in the blaze, which also destroyed over 60 other homes in the neighbourhood.

See the trailer: here

13th (2016)

Named after the ‘13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery’, this Ava DuVernay documentary explores the relationship of race, justice and the prison-industrial complex in America.

Watch it here: Netlfix

I Am Not Your Negro (2017)

James Baldwin’s incomplete book, Remember this House, was turned into a Samuel L. Jackson-narrated film which journeys into black history that connects the Civil Rights movement to #blacklivesmatter. It questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond, and examines the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Watch it here: Amazon

When They See Us (2019)

When They See Us is a Netflix mini-series which recounts the real-life story of Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana Jr and Korey Wise who were wrongfully convicted in the infamous Central Park jogger case of 1989. Collectively known as the ‘Exonerated Five’, the series shows the unlawful handling of the case right the way through the system.

Watch it here: Netflix

Whose Streets? (2017)

Whose Streets? is a ground-level account of the protests that rocked the United States in the days and weeks after the murder of Michael Brown Jr by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Watch it here: Amazon

16 Shots (2019)

Just a few months after the death of Michael Brown Jr, another American mid-western city was rocked by the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. This documentary looks at the circumstances of the evening and examines the way those in power, including officers on the scene, attempted to cover up the crime.

Watch it here: Amazon

TIME: The Kalief Browder Story (2016)

The heart-wrenching story of the late Kalief Browder is one which, while difficult to watch, is necessary in order to comprehend the effects of the broken American justice system. In 2010, Browder, a 16-year-old African-American boy from The Bronx, was walking home from a party when he was apprehended by police and, subsequently, charged with robbery, grand larceny and assault. While inside Rikers Island Prison, he sustained mental, physical and sexual abuse and, two years after his case was dropped, Browder committed suicide.

Watch it here: Netflix

Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story (2018)

A six-part documentary, Rest in Power focuses on 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who, in 2012, was shot in the heart by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch coordinator. His death is credited as one of the events that spurred the Black Lives Matter movement.

Watch it here: Amazon

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

Based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of the same name, If Beale Street Could Talk is a romantic drama which sees a young couple, Tish and Fonny, torn apart after Fonny is falsely accused of raping a woman.

Watch it here: Amazon

Do Not Resist (2016)

A chilling look at how an increase in funding to U.S. Police departments have resulted in a police force more equipped to go to war with the communities they serve than to protect them.

Watch it here: Amazon

Just Mercy by Jake Giles Netter/Warner Bros.
Just Mercy by Jake Giles Netter/Warner Bros.

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