Black Cinema Matters


Films to educate you on the struggles of the black nation.


By Lerato Botha

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 7 of VARSITY News.


Over the past few weeks, the unjust killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis policemen in the United States has brought up a reinvigorated conversation surrounding police brutality and racism around the world. Although unjust murders and systemic racism are nothing new to black people who have been fighting racial injustices for centuries, for many non-poc’s who had not realised how deep-rooted racism truly is, this was their first real encounter with systemic racism being played out in front of their own eyes that could not simply be written off.


As a result, it has come to light that many people are uneducated on issues of racism in the context of police brutality and governmental oppression and in order to effectively move forward, we need to be educated on such issues, thus, here are a few movies and series that depict the societal issues that our black people face regularly.


With one of the most frequent issues of black injustice coming from law enforcement, a study by Michigan State University has revealed that black Americans being convicted of murder in the US are about 50% more likely to be innocent than other convicted murderers. A series that adequately depicts wrongful convictions is ‘When They See Us’, which is based on the true events of five black men being wrongfully convicted of a crime and having to serve over a decade in prison with no adequate evidence against them. ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ is another film that depicts this all too familiar scenario well.


Instances of police brutality that mimic the wrongful killing of George Floyd are also well depicted in the films ‘Fruitvale Station’ and ‘The Hate U Give’. Both films display innocent black men being brutally killed by the police. These are clear depictions of how history continues to repeat itself with Fruitvale Station being based on the true killing of 22-year-old Oscar Grant in 2009.‘Dear White People’ a series set on a college campus, which is extremely relevant to us students, also educates us on common microaggressions and cultural appropriation in our day and age.


Finally, films like ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and the documentary, ‘The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution’, do a good job in highlighting the role of the Black Panther movement in invoking a change in the civil rights movement, with ‘BlacKkKlansman’ also depicting the inner workings of the KKK and the amount of power they held in the US.


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