As protests against police violence toward the black community continue in Athens and around the country, there is a growing call for people to become more educated on these issues. The Red & Black has compiled a list of movies and TV shows that contextualize the history and sentiments behind these demonstrations.
"The Hate U Give" (2018)
Based on the 2017 novel by Angie Thomas, “The Hate U Give” stars Amandla Stenberg as 16-year-old Starr Carter. Throughout the movie, Carter bounces between the worlds of her predominantly black neighborhood, Garden Heights, and her wealthy predominantly white private school, Williamson Prep.
After a party, Carter is driven home by her friend Khalil who gets pulled over by police. Khalil steps out of the car, per police orders, and then reaches through the driver’s window to pick up a hairbrush. The officer fatally shoots Khalil, believing the brush was a weapon. After the story becomes national news and a jury fails to indict the officer, protests come together in Garden Heights with Carter playing a public role.
“The Hate U Give” is available for purchase on Hulu, Vudu, YouTube, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
"Strong Island" (2017)
In this documentary, director Yance Ford explores the 1992 murder of his brother, William Ford Jr. At the time he was killed, William Ford was a 24-year-old teacher. His killer was Mark Reilly, a 19-year-old white man who worked in an auto shop in Long Island, New York. William Ford went to the auto body shop after a dispute with Reilly.
A jury did not indict Reilly for the killing. The main focus of the film is on Yance Ford’s family and how they dealt with the tragedy of losing a family member.
“Strong Island” is available on Netflix.
"Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story" (2018)
This six-part docuseries re-examines the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Martin was shot by police officer George Zimmerman.
The series starts with Martin’s family searching for answers after police refused to arrest Zimmerman under Florida’s “stand your ground” statute, which gives a person the right to use deadly force if they reasonably believe the force is necessary to prevent “great bodily harm” to them or others or to “prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”
The series ends with Zimmerman’s acquittal and the start of the Black Lives Matter movement. The first episode is available for free on Paramount Network and the other episodes can be accessed by sign in or a 24-hour free trial.
"When They See Us" (2019)
“When They See Us” is a scripted Netflix mini-series surrounding the Central Park Five and the events of the April 19, 1989 jogger case. The series starts with the five teenagers of color being coerced into confessing to a crime they did not commit. It follows each of the boy’s experiences individually rather than as a group.
The series ends with the exoneration of the men after new evidence was found in 2002.
"Black-ish" (2014 - Present)
ABC’s “Black-ish” is about a middle-class African American family, the Johnsons. Although the sitcom remains true to its genre with typical, small misunderstandings and other tropes, race is ingrained into the very structure of the show.
Journalist Homa Khaleeli said, “The Johnsons are not a family who ‘happen to be black’ but a family who are black,” in her 2017 article for The Guardian. The show addresses societal issues almost every week, including police violence.
“Black-ish” is available on ABC’s website, Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube TV.