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12 Movies to watch right now

Women’s Basketball hosting selection show party Monday night/ Photograph by Jessica Fugett.

Movie Reviews | Photograph by Jessica Fugett | The Wright State Guardian

It can be hard to know where to begin to understand racial injustice. For starters, here is a list of films that amplify the voices we should be listening to:

  1. Do The Right Thing

Where to watch: Available to Rent

The lyrics of Public Enemy is constant: “You’ve got to fight the power, fight the power, fight the power that be” It’s a message that is constant throughout, and by the end of the film, quite literally rocks the street that Spike Lee’s lead character, Mookie, lives and works.

It tells the all too relevant tale of the relationship between violence, riots, and police brutality. The final question of the film being, did Mookie do the right thing?

  1. If Beale Street Could Talk

Where to Watch: Hulu

Based on the James Baldwin novel of the same name, this tells the story of a young black couple dealing with not only a premarital pregnancy but racial profiling.

The film’s beautiful writing is paired with stunning cinematography and makes for a memorable reminder of the injustice present in our judicial system. 

  1. 13th 

Where to Watch: Netflix, YouTube

This documentary explores the racial injustice of the United States prison system, and focuses on how our prisons are disproportionately filled with African Americans.

It goes as far back as the civil war and the passing of Jim Crow laws, showing the lasting effects that they have caused. It includes interviews with former President Barack Obama, activist Angela Davis, and Senator Cory Booker. 

  1. Daughters of the Dust

Where to Watch: Free on The Criterion Channel

While The Criterion Channel is mostly used by film buffs, the company recently lifted its paywall on select films capturing the black experience. From silent films like Oscar Micheaux’s “Within Our Gates,” Cheryl Dunye’s “The Watermelon Woman,” Agnes Varda’s documentary “Black Panthers,” to Julie Dash’s “Daughters Of the Dust.”

Dash’s film follows former West African slaves living in coastal South Carolina and was the first film directed by a black woman to receive a wide theatrical release.

  1. The Life and Death of Marsha P Johnson

Where to watch: Netflix

With June serving as Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community, Marsha P. Johnson’s story is relevant today in more ways than one. She is credited with starting the riots at Stonewall Inn, the event that is credited with starting Pride.

Her story, specifically her mysterious death, is one that serves as a constant reminder for the violence that many black and transgender people face today. 

  1. When They See Us

Where to Watch: Netflix

This heart-wrenching series chronicles the true story of 5 Harlem teens who are falsely accused of a brutal Central Park attack. Despite their innocence, they were sentenced to maximum prison terms.

The film portrays how the 5 teens fell victim to a system built of individuals who bent the rules however they saw fit. The 5 now adults were released in 2014. 

  1. BlackkKlansman

Where to Watch: Available to Rent, HBO

Spike Lee took home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2018 Academy Awards. This tells the story of Ron Stallworth, the first African American police officer to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Eager to get into the field, Stallworth takes on the challenge to take down the Klu Klux Klan. He enlists his white coworker to double as “Ron Stallworth”, and the tense film takes a look at the tense relationship not only between African Americans and the police but at the complications of being a black man working as a police officer.

  1. Just Mercy

Where to Watch: Free on All Digital Platforms

This film, which was just released to be streamed for free, tells the true story of Walter McMillian, a man wrongly convicted of murder who was able to overturn his conviction with the help of Bryan Stevenson.

  1. I Am Not Your Negro

Where to Watch: Available to Rent

This film takes a look at the James Baldwin manuscript that never happened: “Remember This House.” Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film chronicles the history of Racism in the United States and follows civil rights leaders Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers.

  1. Selma 

Where to Watch: Free on All Digital Platforms

This historical drama documents the peaceful march led by Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery. The film chronicles not only the peace but the violence that erupted from the protests. 

  1. The Hate U Give 

Where to Watch: Available to Rent

Based on the novel of the same name, a high school girl struggling with her identity in her mostly white prep school. On top of this, she is forced to deal with the aftermath of witnessing her best friend’s death at the hands of a police officer. 

  1. Fruitvale Station

Where to Watch: Available to Rent

This is the first collaboration between Wright State Grad Hannah Beachler and director Ryan Coogler. It chronicles the true story of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was killed by police on New Year’s Eve of 2009.

The film is an example of the importance that video evidence, most often recorded by witnesses on their cell phones, can play in these cases. 

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