Black History Month celebrates all the things African-Americans have contributed to our culture and society. Here are some great pieces of content to show a different perspective than you may be used to.

13th

’13th’ is a Netflix documentary that examines the criminalization of Black Americans from the Civil War to the present day. Scholars, politicians, and political activists discuss the loophole in the Thirteenth Amendment that has caused Black citizens to be overrepresented in American prisons.

This documentary is as eye-opening as it is heart-wrenching. Little background knowledge is needed, as the information is presented clearly and is easy to digest. The film will leave viewers with a basic understanding of what it is like to be black in America. It examines the aftermath of the Civil War, Jim Crow America, and the Civil Rights movement to explain why America accounts for only 5% of the world’s population but 25% of its prisoners. It is worth checking out for anyone without much background knowledge on black history. ’13th’ was directed by Ava DuVernay.

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Lovecraft Country

Based on the 2016 novel of the same name, ‘Lovecraft Country’ follows Atticus Black in a search for his missing father through Jim Crow America with his friend Letitia and Uncle George. But, as if racist townsfolk aren’t enough for the protagonists to deal with, they must also face terrifying monsters during their journey.

‘Lovecraft Country’ does an incredible job blending the real-world horror of racism with the fictional horror of Lovecraftian beasts. The visuals are astounding, with the show’s unique look enhanced by its 1950s aesthetic. In addition, all the actors are at the top of their game. ‘Lovecraft Country’ is executive produced by Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams and stars Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, and Courtney B. Vance.

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#blackAF

This 2020 Netflix mockumentary explores a fictional version of the life of creator, star, and producer Kenya Barris. The show takes place from the perspective of Kenya’s daughter, Drea. She is making a documentary about her father’s life as part of her New York University film school application. It examines racial issues that haven’t seen a lot of representation, such as experiencing racism as a member of the upper class.

This show got mixed reviews, but those who enjoy sitcoms like ‘The Office’ or ‘Parks and Recreation’ will likely get some enjoyment out of it. At only eight episodes in length, “#blackAF” makes for a quick watch that offers laughs in addition to a new angle on racism in America. ‘#blackAF’ stars Rashida Jones, Kenya Barris, and Iman Benson.

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Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What it Means to be Black Now

Author Touré takes on the idea of racial authenticity for Black Americans in today’s world and offers insight into what it’s like to be a young, Black, middle-class American. In his book, ‘Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What it Means to be Black Now’ he differentiates the ideas of self and racial identities for Black Americans by arguing that the concept of Blackness is infinite and there is no “wrong” expression of Blackness for those who are rooted in it. This exploration is not taken on alone as Touré cites many great Black intellectuals to discuss the functions of post-blackness in art, culture, politics, and more.

While this book was written in the middle of Obama’s presidency, it holds true and can easily be expanded to more social issues in today’s spotlight. The book offers excellent insight into the experiences of Black Americans and is perfect for those who want to understand what life can be like from a different lens. The book also has a charming sense of brutal honesty while occasionally humorous in the face of struggle.

"Who&squot;s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means to Be Black Now" written by

“Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means to Be Black Now” written by Touré features the Statue of Liberty on the cover. Photo credit: Valerie Strummer

 

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Cyrus Burton is a Fullerton resident who enjoys running, reading, and playing tabletop games in his free time.