‘Rest In Power’: All the best Black Lives Matter-inspired content
The Paramount Network’s six-part docuseries Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story on BET recounted the murder of the teenager killed by police officer George Zimmerman in 2012.
Martin’s death arguably galvanized the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, something that the docuseries looks to be taking a glimpse at. Filmmakers Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason demonstrate the cost of ignoring the issues raised by the movement, pushing Martin’s life and death beyond being a symbolic part of modern American consciousness.
Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton has said of the docuseries: “I hope people walk away knowing who Trayvon Martin really was. I want people to walk away having a clear view of what this country is about right now, and not what they thought it is.”
Produced by Jay-Z, Rest In Power provides powerful context for Martin’s shooting, spins an intricate web of racial microaggressions that add up to a far greater threat, and details a devastating look at a young life lost and of race relations in America today.
The docuseries is another in a recent surge of powerful documentaries, TV shows, and movies inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the issues raised by it. Here are ten to check out...
Strong Island (2017)
Yance Ford’s Oscar nominated Netflix Originals documentary interrogates the value of black life in America via the deeply personal story of the murder of her 24-year-old brother. While investigating his 1992 death, Ford raises a number of raw and impassioned questions pertaining to the US justice system and institutionalized racism.
Fruitvale Station (2013)
Ryan Coogler’s 2013 drama is probably one of the most heart-wrenching and powerful movies ever made with extraordinary performances from Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer.
Based on the events leading up to the death of Oscar Grant (a man murdered by a police officer at the Fruitvale district station in Oakland), Coogler connects the political to the emotional in telling the story of the man and not the headline or the statistic.
The result is an ode to human rights and a sharp takedown of police brutality. Fruitvale Station offers a reminder that as horrific as such unjust acts are to witness, we also can’t afford to turn away from them.
Luke Cage (2016 – )
When the Cheo Hodari Coker series about the legendary Marvel hero premiered in 2016, critics praised it for exploring political ideas in an entertaining way, with various publications calling the character a “Black Lives Matter superhero”.
However, as well as providing the powerful image of a bulletproof black man, Luke Cage also platforms the importance of black stories and perspectives – and how crucial it is to nurture black communities.
Offering a razor-toothed interrogation about how issues pertaining to race, justice, and mass incarceration are savagely intertwined, Ava DuVernay’s Netflix Originals documentary is devastating, impassioned, well researched, and breathtakingly smart.
The movie explores the history of racial inequality in America, while also questioning why the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. The answers proposed in 13th are staggering.
Whose Streets? (2017)
Sabaah Folayan’s documentary provides an account of the Ferguson uprising as told by the people who lived it. Centered around how the community fought back following the murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Whose Streets? offers a vivid illumination of society’s continued ills.
Get Out (2017)
Offering a horrifying racial dialogue that capably burrows into black identity, African-American fears, and the insidious underlying threat of white supremacy, Get Out offers a set of scares that provide parallels to sociopolitical tensions.
Thankfully, Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning horror also provided some comedic relief, as he told Deadline, “With the Black Lives Matter movement and attention to police brutality, it was clear people had a certain fatigue from those horrors, and needed a hero, an escape, as well as a way to confront it.”
The First Purge (2018)
Though some critics have argued the film offers a “metaphor on the real actions of the United States government and classism” in a “heavy handed” way, there’s no denying the film recalls the Black Lives Matter movement by taking on the violent acts of white supremacy.
Seven Seconds (2018)
Centered around the death of a black teenager from Jersey killed in a hit and run by a white police officer (determined to cover up the crime), this provocative Netflix Original drama delves into the Black Lives Matter movement to portray a fight for rightful justice.
The Hate U Give (2018)
Based on Angie Thomas’s critically acclaimed young adult novel of the same name, George Tillman Jr.’s upcoming adaptation looks to be just as thoughtful and perceptive as the book. The film follows a young woman (Amandla Stenberg) who discovers her strong political voice after watching a cop fatally shooting her childhood best friend.
The film boasts a stellar cast including Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, and Common. Thomas has said she titled the book after Tupac’s “THUG LIFE” concept (“The Hate U Give Little Infants F–ks Everybody”), which should indicate just how ferocious and powerful this tale gets.
Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement (2016)
The BET documentary is a must-see for anyone who may not currently know enough about the Black Lives Matter movement to fully understand it or for those digging for more detail regarding it. The film digs deep into how the movement came to be and how it continues to peacefully rise.