Don't Let Our Unity Be A Chain of Paper Dolls: Watch Black Stories

My family at a recent family reunion, pictured: Barbara Lewis, Jodie Patterson, Jamelle Rackley, & Julia Duncan

These past few weeks I have felt as if I am one link in a chain of paper dolls. Connected to others with a new stream of consciousness. Linked in solidarity against racism and inequality. I am grateful for the effort to be understood. I want to trust this unity will continue, dare I say forever. But a part of me feels this connection will be ripped apart at some point in the future. After all, when you cut a strand of paper dolls, it leaves both sides flapping in the air.

I believe if we share our stories we will stay connected. It is the way people have passed on their traditions and manner of life since the beginning of human existence. Storytelling teaches history, and is a crucial component to understanding feelings of love, happiness, despair, and hope. If you are not exposed to narratives about yourself and also people who don’t look like you, there is a disconnect with our humanity. In today’s political climate it is becoming increasingly important to make sure that black legacy is being shared.

Visual storytelling through television and film brings you face-to-face with its characters, allowing you to engage with and care about them. Black filmmakers have been telling stories that resonate with their audience for years. The documentaries and films listed below are a few of my favorites that are available at no extra charge on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. I invite you to view them for their tales of love, triumph, bravery, and family. I encourage you to watch Black stories so we do not lose this connection.

Movies & Documentaries on NetFlix

Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker (2020)

Mini-Series TV-MA

Self Made is Netflix’s mini-series starring Octavia Spencer, it tells the story of Madam C. J. Walker, an entrepreneur of black natural hair care products. The story takes you through her struggles and heart breaks, it also shines a light on her successes. She was America’s first self made female millionaire. 

The four-hour miniseries is worth a watch. For decades black women were unseen, considered the most disparaged people in America. They worked as white people’s mammies (nursemaids and nannies) and cleaning staff. The only way for them to be seen was to create their own advantage. Madam C. J. Walker knew this, and she never stopped working towards creating a new reality of the strong and unified black woman.

13th (2016)

Documentary TV-MA

"The United States is home to 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prisoners. How do we escape this?"

13th is a Netflix documentary presenting a historic account to the challenge of being Black in America and the racial inequalit