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Educate Yourself on America (With These 5 Movies)
Reggie Rock Bythewood

Reggie Rock Bythewood

Writer

When the Academy asked me to compile my list of five films people should watch now, I thought quite a bit about my grandfather. As part of the Harlem Renaissance, he moved from South Carolina to Harlem. His perseverance over racism is an inspiration. However, he was battle-scarred. I have been battle-scarred as well but not as much as my grandfather and my father. As for my two teenage sons, I hope they will be less scarred than we were. Much love to artists who have used their craft to illuminate this pressing issue of racism. “We Shall Overcome Someday” is played out. Someday is now!

1

Fruitvale Station

2013

WHERE TO WATCH

This Ryan Coogler film gives a glimpse into the life and tragic, unjust death of Oscar Grant by the hands of police. Disturbing but necessary to watch. 

WHERE TO WATCH
Fruitvale Station
2013
85 Mins | R
Flashbacks reveal the final day in the life of Oscar Grant, a young man shot dead by police.


2

Four Little Girls

1997

WHERE TO WATCH

An amazing documentary by Spike Lee, which reveals how long and arduous the struggle for freedom and equality has been. 

WHERE TO WATCH
Four Little Girls
1997
102 Mins | PG
Spike Lee examines racism and segregation as he documents a fatal 1963 Alabama church-bombing.


3

Selma

2014

WHERE TO WATCH

Ava DuVernay's great film on Dr. King and civil rights workers. It is not just their passion for justice that is revealed in this film, but their exemplary skills at organizing. 

WHERE TO WATCH
Selma
2014
128 Mins | PG
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) wages a historic battle to win voting rights for all.


4

A Raisin in the Sun

1961

WHERE TO WATCH

Based on the play by Lorraine Hansberry. This 1961 classic highlights the challenges of integration and the elusive hope of a Black family in the sixties attempting to attain the American Dream. 

WHERE TO WATCH
A Raisin in the Sun
1961
128 Mins | PG
Poor Chicago family (Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee) argues over $10,000 windfall.


5

Get on the Bus

1996

WHERE TO WATCH

I humbly submit a film I wrote as my fifth selection. Also directed by Spike Lee, this film reveals much of the passion myself and other Black men felt when we attended the Million Man March. The urgency of now is what we felt back then. It is the urgency of now that can make meaningful change today. 

WHERE TO WATCH
Get on the Bus
1996
120 Mins | R
Black Los Angeleans tell their stories during a bus trip to the Million Man March.


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