Race and racism have played a part in moviemaking as long as the art form has existed.
And throughout that history, Black filmmakers — despite being forced to overcome constant discrimination in the industry — have used movies as a medium to express their experiences with racial injustice and systemic inequality.
Those movies include generation-defining dramas, eye-opening documentaries and plenty more, which is why this list is barely more than a starting point. But if you’re looking for something you can watch right now, here are five movies about racial inequality you can stream today.
“Do The Right Thing” (Amazon Prime)
Spike Lee’s 1989 drama is often considered one of the greatest films of all time — and it’s easy to see why. The movie, starring Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Rosie Perez, Giancarlo Esposito and John Turturo, is a painful, powerful look at race relations through the lens of a single Brooklyn street.
“The Hate You Give” (Hulu, Amazon Prime)
Directed by George Tillman Jr., “The Hate You Give” tells a tragically relevant story. Starring Amandla Stenberg as a teenager who witnesses a deadly police shooting, the movie deals with the personal, human cost of racial injustice.
Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary is named after the Thirteenth Amendment, which, on paper, abolished slavery in 1865. However, as Duverney’s gripping film shows, the institution’s legacy is still very much alive — including in America’s prison systems.
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Hulu)
Directed by Best Picture-winning director Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is a big-screen adaptation of James Baldwin’s classic 1974 novel of the same name, which tells the story of a couple in Harlem and their attempts to overcome racial oppression.
“Just Mercy” (Amazon Prime)
Based on a true story, “Just Mercy” stars Michael B. Jordan as a young lawyer determined to free a Black man (Jaime Foxx) who’s been falsely accused of murder. The movie was praised by many critics when it was released in 2019, with Foxx racking up numerous awards nominations.
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