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Black Lives Matter : The DisruptorsIt grew in just a couple of years from a hashtag to a powerful movement that has taken on police shootings of black people and is defiantly challenging the political establishment. Black Lives Matter (BLM) now has over 40 chapters in the United States and Canada. The Fifth Estate takes you inside the movement with the people who helped build it. Janaya Khan, the Toronto activist who has become its international ambassador, and Khan’s partner Patrisse Cullors – the co-founder of BLM – share their history and insights into the movement as it faces its toughest test in the face of a new Trump administration. Former members of the Black Panther Party also reflect on how they see today’s movement in light of their battles in the 1960s.
A brief history of the Black Lives Matter movementCBC Kids News contributor Elijah Sandiford digs into the history of the Black Lives Matter movement. Historian and sociologist Afua Cooper describes some critical moments in black history and Vancouver activist Jacob Callender-Prasad talks about his role fighting anti-black racism.
Colour BlindColour Blind is a film about subtle racism and its daily impact on teenagers in high school. To outsiders, Princess Margaret Senior Secondary, in the heart of Surrey, BC, looks like an ordinary high school. To teachers and students, however, it was a school full of racial rage, segregation and violence. Its troubles began in 1995 when the predominately white student body became a predominately ethnic majority. Five years later, we follow five teenagers as they learn tolerance for each other's differences. Colour Blind documents that painful and confusing process of overcoming racial conflicts. The video's purpose is to encourage young students to examine their own behaviours and attitudes and to ask probing questions of themselves about how they react to racism within their own high school.
Hughes' Dream HarlemLangston Hughes was one of the most prominent figures of the Harlem Renaissance and is often referred to as Harlem's poet laureate. This film shows how Hughes successfully fused jazz, blues and common speech to celebrate the beauty of Black life. Hughes' Dream Harlem presents a vision of the esteemed poet in present-day Harlem and makes an important case for Hughes' impact on hip-hop and the spoken-word community. This multi-layered documentary includes roundtable discussions of his contributions and a tour of Hughes' Harlem hang-outs. The distinguished actor/activist Ossie Davis offers the narration in his soulful baritone, while his wife and collaborator, the renowned Ruby Dee, reflects on Hughes' life with such notable personalities as poet Sonia Sanchez and music industry icon Damon Dash. The artists testify to his continuing impact on their work and his steadfast racial pride and artistic independence. Hughes' Dream Harlem will inspire students to discover Hughes' work while encouraging them to pursue their own writing. "Hughes' Dream Harlem links the poetic voice of African Americans from the Harlem Renaissance to today's Def Poetry Jam. It demonstrates continuity from Harlem of the past to the socio-political issues facing Africans in America today in the present." - Danny Simmons, Executive Producer, Def Poetry. "Hughes' Dream Harlem makes the connection to today's spoken word movement inspired by the music-based poetry form that Langston invented." - St. Clair Bourne, Filmmaker. "Imaginatively filmed, this fine program is recommended for both school and public libraries." - Booklist. "The interviews are incredibly powerful. This fascinating film should be a part of African American history, poetry and literature collections." - Library Journal.
Race is a Four-Letter WordSpeaking biologically, 'race' is a spectral concept. Black, brown, red, white, and yellow, considered purely as skin colours, merit no more significance than a tattoo. The 'skin your're in' is about as meaningful as ectoplasm. Scientists remind us that not only are we all essentially the same, but we all have the same genetic ancestor. Eve was a black, African woman. Nevertheless, history and politics, sociology and economics, transform skin colour - 'race' - into either a golden sheathe or a leaden prison of shame. In Europe and North America, blackness can still seem a burden. It can still brand its possessors as uncivilized, exotic, and menacing. But it can also be prized, lusted after and viewed as a precious enhancement, like gold foil. In Race Is a Four-Letter Word, director Sobaz Benjamin highlights Canadian contradictions and conflicts around race. Heroically, he exposes himself, too: a black man who grew up hating himself, trying to bleach his skin with chemicals, and then struggling to appreciate the meaning of his culture and heritage as an 'Afro-Saxon' Briton, then Grenadian and now Haligonian-Nova Scotian-Canadian. Courageously, Benjamin strips away the masks and armour of race, of blackness and whiteness, to reveal the vulnerable and human, including that very sex that inspires so much primal envy and dread. This brave film forces us to unmask and to look unflinchingly at our real selves. Sobaz Benjamin showcases the stories of a white man who is culturally and psychologically black; of a black woman who wants to be considered iconically Canadian; of another black woman who retreats to England rather than continue to face Canada's racial cold war; and of himself, a black man who has learned to love his complexity. In the end, Race Is a Four-Letter Word teaches us that the soul has no colour. Yet, we also learn that race is a marathon we are all forced to run. Race Is a Four-Letter Word was produced as part of the Reel Diversity Competition for emerging filmmakers of colour. Reel Diversity is a National Film Board of Canada initiative in partnership with CBC Newsworld.
Sisters in the StruggleSisters in the Struggle features Black women who are active in community organizing, electoral politics, and labour and feminist organizing. They share their insights and personal testimonies on a legacy of racism and sexism. The analyses they present link their struggles with the ongoing battle against pervasive racism and systemic violence against women and people of colour.
The Skin We're InUrgent, controversial and undeniably honest, The Skin We’re In is a wake-up call to complacent Canadians. Racism is here. It is everywhere. It is us and we are it. Following celebrated journalist Desmond Cole as he researches his hotly anticipated book, this documentary from acclaimed director Charles Officer pulls back the curtain on racism in Canada.
Tongues UntiedMarlon Riggs' essay film TONGUES UNTIED gives voice to communities of black gay men, presenting their cultures and perspectives on the world as they confront racism, homophobia, and marginalization. It broke new artistic ground by mixing poetry, music, performance and Riggs' autobiographical revelations. The film was embraced by black gay audiences for its authentic representation of style, and culture, as well its fierce response to oppression. It opened up opportunities for dialogue among and across communities. TONGUES UNTIED has been lauded by critics for its vision and its bold aesthetic advances, and vilified by anti-gay forces who used it to condemn government funding of the arts.It was even denounced from the floor of Congress. Winner of Best Documentary Film at the **Berlin International Film Festival**.
Zero ToleranceBeing young is tough, especially if you're Black, Latino, Arab or Asian. In a city like Montreal, you can get targeted and treated as a criminal for no good reason. Zero Tolerance reveals how deep seated prejudice can be. On one side are the city's young people, and on the other, its police force. Two worlds, two visions. Yet one of these groups is a minority, while the other wields real power. One has no voice, while the other makes life-and-death decisions. When a policy of zero tolerance to crime masks an intolerance to young people of colour, the delicate balance between order and personal freedom is upset. A blend of cinéma vérité and personal testimonies, this hard-hitting film will broaden your mind and change your way of thinking. In French with English sub-titles.
13th (Netflix)Slavery. Jim Crow. Criminalization. Links in a chain of racial inequality, forged by political and economic motives
America to Me (Amazon Prime)Academy Award nominated filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself) examines racial, economic and class issues in contemporary American education in the multipart unscripted documentary series "America to Me."
Blackish (iTunes)Energetic and hilarious, with a pitch-perfect cast and - most importantly - a vital and fresh new point of view. Black-ish stars the dependably funny Anthony Anderson as Dre, an African-American advertising executive. Along with his doctor wife (the fantastic Tracee Ellis Ross) and their four children, Dre lives comfortably in a posh, mostly white suburb. But despite his success, he can't shake the guilty feeling that his struggle-free children are growing up with no sense of black history or culture. Tackling potentially hot-button issues of racial identity with humour and ease, Black-ish is an outstanding modern comedy.
The Book of Negroes (CBC)Stolen from Africa, 11-year old Aminata Diallo is enslaved and forced to endure a treacherous journey to America.
Dear White People (Netflix)An American comedy-drama television series that follows several black college students at an Ivy League institution, touching on issues surrounding modern American race relations
Little Fires Everywhere (Amazon Prime)Based on Celeste Ng's 2017 bestseller, Little Fires Everywhere follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. The story explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger in believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
Luke Cage (Netflix)When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive attempting to rebuild his life in Harlem and must soon confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city.
The Oprah Conversations (Apple TV+)Oprah leads intimate discussions with today's foremost newsmakers, thought leaders and masters of their craft.
Episode 1 - 2 Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man
Episode 3 How to Be an Antiracist
Seven Seconds (Netflix)The death of a 15-year-old African American boy in Jersey City sets off a police cover-up and a search for the truth.
United Shades of America (CNN)'United Shades of America' follows comedian and political provocateur W. Kamau Bell as he explores communities across America to understand the unique challenges they face.
When They See Us (Netflix)In the spring of 1989, five boys of colour are arrested, interrogated and coerced into confessing to the vicious attack of a woman in Central Park.
Rest in Power (iTunes)From executive producer Shawn Carter and The Cinemart, Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story examines the life and legacy of Trayvon Martin. The six-part, unscripted documentary series looks at one of the most talked-about and controversial events of the last decade, including the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement that grew after Trayvon's death.
The National Film Board of Canada has curated a list of Anti-racist films that can be viewed on their website. View the list and the films here.
American Son (Netflix)Time passes and tension mounts in a Florida police station as an estranged interracial couple awaits news of their missing teenage son.
Belle (Criterion)Although Dido Elizabeth Belle, an eighteenth-century English woman of mixed race, is raised in privilege by her aristocratic great-uncle and his wife, she is denied a proper social standing because of her skin color. But when Dido falls in love with a young idealist lawyer who aspires to create positive change, she finds herself caught between two worlds.
BlacKkKlansman (iTunes)From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. In the early 1970s, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) becomes the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a difference, he bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. He recruits a seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation. Together, they team up to take down the extremist organization aiming to garner mainstream appeal. Produced by the team behind the Academy Award®–winning Get Out, BlacKkKlansman offers an unflinching, true-life examination of race relations in 1970s America that is just as relevant in today's tumultuous world.
Blindspotting (Amazon Prime)Collin, a parolee facing his final three days of probation, needs to stay clear of trouble. Miles, Collin's hot tempered best friend, can't stay out of it. When Colin witnesses a police shooting, the two men's friendship is tested, sending Collin and Miles on a collision course with each other...
Do The Right Thing (Criterion)Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama film produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee. It stars Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, and Samuel L. Jackson, and is the feature film debut of Martin Lawrence and Rosie Perez. The story explores a Brooklyn neighborhood's simmering racial tension, which culminates in violence on a hot summer day.
Fruitvale Station (iTunes)Filmmaker Ryan Coogler makes his feature directorial debut with this drama centered on the tragic shooting of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a vibrant 22-year-old Bay Area father who was senselessly gunned down by BART officers on New Year’s Day in 2009, and whose murder sent shockwaves through the nation after being captured on camera by his fellow passengers.
Get OutA young black man meets his white girlfriend's parents at their estate, only to find out that the situation is much more sinister than it appears.
The Hate U Give (Criterion)The Hate U Give is a 2018 American drama film directed by George Tillman Jr. with a screenplay by Audrey Wells, based on the 2017 young adult novel of the same name by Angie Thomas. The film stars Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa, Common, and Anthony Mackie, and follows the fallout after a high school student witnesses a police shooting.
Hidden Figures (Criterion)As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.
If Beale Street Could Talk (Criterion)If Beale Street Could Talk is a 2018 American romantic drama film written and directed by Barry Jenkins, and based on James Baldwin's 1974 novel of the same name. It stars an ensemble cast that includes KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Michael Beach, Dave Franco, Diego Luna, Pedro Pascal, Ed Skrein, Brian Tyree Henry, and Regina King. The film follows a young woman who, with her family's support, seeks to clear the name of her wrongly charged lover and prove his innocence before the birth of their child.
Insecure (iTunes)Created by and starring Issa Rae, this comedy series looks at the friendship of two modern-day black women, as well as all of their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations. As they navigate the tricky professional and personal terrain of Los Angeles, best friends Issa (Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) face the challenges of being black women who defy all stereotypes.
Just Mercy (Amazon Prime)A powerful true story that follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his battle for justice as he defends a man sentenced to death despite evidence proving his innocence.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (iTunes)Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind. As he struggles to reconnect with his family and reconstruct the community he longs for, his hopes blind him to the reality of his situation.
Let the Fire Burn (iTunes)On May 13, 1985, the city government of Philadelphia and an organization called MOVE collided in violent armed conflict - the culmination of more than ten years of simmering tensions that had already claimed the life of a police officer during a 1978 gun-battle. The MOVE group appeared to combine elements of a black power movement with aspects of a back-to-nature religion. Members took the surname “Africa,” wore their hair in dreadlocks and shunned technology and cooked food. Reporters sometimes referred to MOVE as a “cult” and often as “terrorists”.By 5pm on May 13, police had already fired over 10,000 rounds of ammunition into the fortified row home that contained children and adults. At this point, a helicopter was used to drop a bomb made from two pounds of C-4 military explosive onto the house. During the next hour, police, firefighters, and city officials looked on as the fire grew out of control.The fire ultimately claimed the lives of five children and six adults. Sixty-one homes were destroyed. This incident is more than just an under-known American tragedy. It is an epic illustration of how intolerance and fear can lead to unthinkable acts of violence.
Marshall (Netflix)The biopic of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black U.S. Supreme Court justice, centers on his pivotal work in a sensational case as an NAACP lawyer.
MoonlightA young black man struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.
Selma (Criterion)Selma is a 2014 historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb. It is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches initiated and directed by James Bevel and led by Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams, and John Lewis.