5 Black Woman Directed Movies Touching on Racial Injustice in Law Enforcement

Good morning. I've been procrastinating on finishing my latest post. I missed a week of posting, and I truly intend not to do that. This Saturday morning I'm working from home. I'm mostly just monitoring things on my computer, but I'm also not motivated to finish that damn post at the moment, so instead I'm just going to do another, quicker post that I am motivated to do.

I don't actually know much about the demographic of my readers. I assume most of you are Americans, but even if you are not, the protesting after George Floyd's death was shared and has affected people worldwide, and I'm going to talk about it real quick. It's really just some basic chiming in, but I'm going to do it anyway because what is happening is important, and chiming in is literally the least I can do.

I think truly a lot more people are talking about the systemic problems of police brutality and race and thinking about/expecting solutions this week than last, and I think that's in no small part to the raw anger and desperation that is clearly in the background of even the most peaceful protests.

People, of course, aren't just protesting this recent death. They are trying to make us all pay attention to lifetimes of small as well as other really fucked up instances of bad treatment, and that's really important activism. Anyone out there doing this damn thing - however you are approaching this activism - much respect to you and keep on truckin'.

In the end what's happening now is all just part of the bed we Americans made throughout our history, and now we're lying in it…and trying our best, in that messy, imperfect way of large growth, to manage through it as a country. And honestly, even though at times this activism is messier, more chaotic, more costly, and more violent than some would prefer, real change in America often comes with that. In fact, The People rising up for cultural and political change is the greatest and most precious of American traditions. 

So, it's really quite beautiful to see Americans trying to force grass roots change and seeing Americans that don't always listen, really listening. Despite the immense tragedy of what these protests are about, I actually feel a lot of optimism and patriotism about what The People are doing right now. May this be a start for long-needed real change.

On that note, and in the original spirit of this SSL blog, I'm going to conclude this post with one of my lists of 5 Movies Directed by Women that I have actually seen.

This time, however, I am going to spotlight movies directed by black women, and specifically movies related to police brutality and legal injustice for black people...because artists and activists have been trying to get this issue out there in the world for, ya know, ever.

The Movies

1 Queen and Slim - This is directed by Melina Matsoukas. I watched this streaming a few weeks ago, and I highly recommend it. It's really beautifully shot, and just a solid movie.

traffic stop

2 Whose Streets? - This was directed by Sabaah Folayan - I actually can't remember how I saw this. I had thought it was an Academy nominated doc, and that I saw it a program for those, but looking it up, I can see it wasn't nominated -so that's not it. I feel pretty certain it was in a small theater somewhere, so who knows. Looking at the trailer, though, I definitely saw and remember it, and again, I'd definitely recommend. It's a thoughtful, eye-opening doc.

3 Talk to Me - This was directed by Kasi Lemmons. This came out in 2007, and I rented it sometime during that period. I remember liking the movie quite a bit, but it's been too long now to remember a lot of details, but I know I hadn't before heard of 'Petey' Greene, the late-60's D.C. D.J. that played a role in the city's civil rights struggle a the time. Check it out for sure.

4 13th - This was directed by Ava DuVernay. This I saw streaming as well. It's a great doc. 100% check this one out. Also, if you haven't seen this woman's movie, Selma about the Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery - check that one out too. It's narrative not doc, but it shows the strategy and politics and disagreements around that march that I had not really understood before.

5 Mudbound - This was directed by Dee Rees. This I saw with a buddy that worked on this production as a medic. We saw it at a independent theater in Nashville. This is more of a historical perspective, and as you might expect, the law doesn't come off well.

Honorable Mention:

Traffic Stop - This was directed by a woman, just not a black woman  - Kate Davis. It is, however, about an incident between a black woman and law enforcement. I saw this at an Oscars Shorts Doc series. Worth a watch.

Happened Nina Simone

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