February marks Black History Month, and it is now more important than ever to engage with Black creators and the stories they tell—and film is a great place to start.
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of police last summer were not the first instances of police brutality and racism deeply ingrained in our highest regarded institutions. But it broke a final straw and sparked widespread protest and push for political and social reform as communities worldwide stood up to advocate for Black lives. As well as signing petitions, donating, voting, joining in person at local protests, and more, films became a way for people to get educated on an American history of racial oppression.
The film industry has been notorious for its long history of discrimination, especially when it comes to the inclusion of non-white directors, writers, and producers. Despite the obstacles Black filmmakers face in being included in the cinema canon, Black leaders in film have long been telling important stories through the screen—stories that continue to speak to the very pivotal moment in history in which we currently find ourselves.