The Relevance of Black History Month, Through a Camera Lens


A wave of awareness in regard to black oppression and police brutality rippled throughout the world this year, as millions watched the life of an innocent man, George Floyd, being discriminatorily snatched away – but the awareness doesn’t, nor should it, end here.

So, in honour of black history month coming to an end, here are a few movies and series currently on Netflix to help you realise the relevance of black history month, with real-life stories, and fictional ones which are true to the culture. After all, who doesn’t love a good movie?



When They See Us

This short series sheds light on black oppression and injustice through illustrating what led to the wrongful 1990 conviction of 5 teenage boys from Harlem, New York in the brutal rape of Trisha Meili.



It takes place over a span of 25 years, from when the innocent teenagers, nowadays known as the Central Park Five, were first questioned in 1989, to their eventual release in 2002 – and finally, the settlement reached in 2014.

Not only does the series promote awareness for the five’s persistent activism, but it allows the audience to take a step back and reflect on how innocence and guilt gets rendered and rectified.



The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

More than just funny, more than just black, Fresh Prince was, and still is, important. It serves as a guide on everything – from police brutality, to racially biased hiring policies, the presumed privileges of being black and wealthy, interracial dating, and racial profiling. The life lessons the Banks family shared with us remain relevant to this day.

Will Smith recently announced that the Fresh Prince of Bel Air is going to be remade with a twist – showing a darker side, and a more real one. Read more about that HERE!



Family Reunion

Perhaps a bit of a lighter watch, and great to watch with kids, this sitcom is penned entirely by black writers and focuses on a family returning to their roots, away from city comforts.



As the family revaluates where they came from, they teach the audience a lot about the beauty of black culture, such as cultural traditions, soul food, and black history.




“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them”



Inspired by the life of Madam C.J Walker, the first female African American self-made millionaire and the daughter of former slaves, Self-Made follows Sarah Breedlove as she finds a product that she believes could help her and others build confidence.

The series depicts how she used this self-belief to create financial independence.




“We now have more African Americans under criminal supervision than all the slaves back in the 1850s”


The 13th amendment to the constitution states that one cannot be enslaved unless they are a criminal.

This brilliant documentary reflects upon this and puts into the picture how black people are often made out to be seen as criminals through illustrating several true stories of innocent black people enslaved simply because of prejudice.



What Happened, Miss Simone?

“How can you be an artist and not reflect on the times?”



Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 88th Academy Awards, this documentary uses never-before-heard recordings, her best songs and rare archival footage to tell us the story of the legendary singer and activist, Nina Simone. Black culture has surely blessed us with many, many things…and that includes soul music.


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