Fruitvale Station and 7 more topical shows to stream nowBrowse full collection
Want to learn more about the issues addressed by the Black Lives Matter movement? Try these movies, series and doccies that examine the Black experience.
As protests around social justice and racism continue around the globe, we’ve assembled a list of topical series, movies and doccies that can help inform the conversation.
Some will outrage you or make you cry; some will probably make you laugh. None professes to fully explore all of the complex issues at play, but may be a good place to start.
Before he directed Black Panther, Ryan Coogler directed this critically acclaimed movie based on true events. In the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant III is on his way home from watching the fireworks in San Francisco. A series of events leads to a scuffle, and Oscar is shot by police. In a scene that’s all too familiar, protests break out across the city against police brutality.
Michael B Jordan stars as Oscar alongside Octavia Spencer in this movie that critics called a “celebration of life, a condemnation of death”.
Acclaimed director Spike Lee tells this incredible and unbelievable true story. An African American police officer in Colorado manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate.
Every year, hundreds of kids from across the US take part in a festival inspired by Martin Luther King Jr, performing poetry and speeches based on his legacy. Follow the process they go through to prepare for the event. The 2018 biopic I Am MLK Jr is also on Showmax.
Examining the 1995 trial of one of America’s best-loved sports icons, this documentary series, consisting of four episodes, each feature-film length, puts Simpson’s time in the courtroom, and the outcome of his murder trial, in the context of racial tensions in the United States.
Inspired by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic DC graphic novel, Watchmen is set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws. The first episode opens with the real-life Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, when KKK members killed hundreds of black citizens – and, in real life, were never brought to book.
Laugh-out-loud funny, not afraid to be controversial and unprecedented in sketch comedy TV history, A Black Lady Sketch Show is created by, written by, directed by and starring a stellar array of black women. Creator Robin Thede executive produces, writes and stars, with Issa Rae (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for HBO’s Insecure) producing.
Rotten Tomatoes’ critics consensus calls the show “an insightful, raunchy, and hilarious journey through the life of a twentysomething black woman that cuts through stereotypes with sharp wit and an effusive spirit.”
The Guardian said: “The opening episode of Insecure […] pulled audiences into a messy, complex vision of black womanhood, via the blunt comments of a group of school kids. Issa Dee (Issa Rae) addresses the disenfranchised pupils she’s mentoring with non-profit organisation We Got Y’All, and finds everything from her natural hair to her relationship to her career under scrutiny. Hilarious but uncomfortable, it set the scene for a series labelled by many as ‘the black Sex and the City’, and hailed by critics as the best show HBO had made in years.”