Watch a Documentary About Race in America

Your DGB for today is to fire up your flat screen or head to the movie house, and catch one of the documentaries by and about Black Americans that’s up for an academy award this year. 

If you’ll recall, last year’s very pale nominee list spawned an understandable #OscarsSoWhite protest across social media, the entertainment world, and beyond. This year the Academy has done somewhat better, and nowhere is that more clear than in the Documentary category, where 4 out of the 5 nominees for best full-length film are helmed by Black directors:  I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, Rémi Grellety and Hébert Peck); Life, Animated (Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman); O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow); and 13th (Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish). 

Better still, three of those four make Black lives their focus:


I am Not Your Negro is based on James Baldwin’s unfinished civil rights-era manuscript, “Remember This House,” but manages to be a commentary on race and race relations in the present day. It is still in theaters, so check your local movie times.

O.J.: Made in America is about O.J., the trial that riveted America, and how inextricably tangled up in race both the legal case and the public perceptions of it were. It’s available on many of the streaming services.

13th is a gut-wrenching look at the mass incarceration of Black Americans since the passing of the 13th Amendment, which ostensibly abolished slavery. It’s available on Netflix.

The Academy Awards air on February 26th, so watch one or all of these extraordinary films and get ready to root for your favorite.