These rarely told stories educate us about the past but also motivate us to keep pushing for change.
Film and TV play a vital role in forming perspectives, informing identities and educating people.
Traditionally, an overwhelming absence of Black stories, coupled with the lack of Black representation on screen and also behind the camera, have done serious disservice to the history and legacy of Black people.
There is such an accumulation of brilliant Black narratives waiting to be told, that we must no longer accept the vision of white storytellers to frame them adequately for us. While there are, of course, excellent Black filmmakers out there, they have had to grapple with the double-edged sword of attempting to correct existing depictions of Black people told, historically, through a white lens, while also pushing forward lesser heard voices, and all while encountering racial discrimination themselves.
While certain Black narratives have made it to the big and smaller screens, the spectrum for what they show has tended to be narrow. Much of the time, precedence is given to depictions of Black suffering - award-winning dramas 12 Years A Slave, Selma and Long Walk To Freedom coming to mind. Portrayals of Black history have also typically been centred around the African American, ignoring the experiences of African and European Black people.
Depicting the brutal realities of parts of Black history is crucially important, but it is not fully representative of the richness and multi-layered nature of Black experience.
For Black History Month 2020, we have rounded up a list of films, and some series, which show something of the multifaceted Black perspective through history. If you haven't seen them, add them to your watchlist today.
These rarely told stories educate us about the past but also motivate us to keep pushing for change. They chime well with today’s continuing pursuit of equality, justice and diversity.