Black Lives Matter: Movies and TV show that put racism in the spotlight

As anti-racism protests continue, here's a look at some relevant films and shows.

CNET staff
1 of 13 Rich Polk/Getty Images/Paramount Network

Black Lives Matter

The killing of George Floyd last month in Minneapolis has sparked protests across the US and around the world over racial injustice. Complex and deeply embedded issues like police brutality and systemic racism are in the headlines more than ever, and movies and TV are a powerful and accessible way to better understand the issues at hand.

These are just some of the films and television series available now to own, rent and stream that help viewers learn about the many faces of oppression and reflect on how to be better allies to black Americans.

2 of 13 Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

When They See Us

Ava DuVernay's gut-wrenching and essential Netflix miniseries is based on the true story of the falsely accused young teens known as the Central Park Five.

3 of 13 Ron Koeberer/Weinstein Company

Fruitvale Station

Written and directed by Ryan Coogler, who went on to work with star Michael B. Jordan again in Marvel's Black Panther, this biographical film tells the story of Oscar Grant III, who was killed by a white police officer in 2009.

4 of 13 Erika Doss/20th Century Fox

The Hate U Give

Based on the young adult novel by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give follows a teenager's struggle to balance the poor, mostly black neighborhood she lives in and the wealthy, mostly white school she attends. Things become more complicated after she witnesses a police officer killing her childhood best friend.

5 of 13 Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story

This searing six-episode documentary series follows the life and legacy of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager shot dead in 2012.

6 of 13 Netflix


Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores racial inequality in Netflix's powerful documentary, focusing on how mass incarceration is an extension of slavery.

7 of 13 David Lee/Focus Features


Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective to work in the Colorado Springs Police Department, sets out to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan in Spike Lee's Oscar-winning thriller BlacKkKlansman.

8 of 13 A24


Devastating 2016 film Moonlight won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture (and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali), showing different aspects of the black experience in its portrayal of the life of a young gay man.

9 of 13 Peter Prato/Sundance

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

A young black man dreams of reclaiming his childhood home in a now-gentrified neighborhood in San Francisco. Jonathan Majors (left) and Jimmie Fails (right) appear in the acclaimed film, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

10 of 13 Lara Solanki/Netflix

Dear White People

Based on a film of the same name, this Netflix series shows the biases and injustices students of color face at Winchester University, a predominantly white Ivy League college.

11 of 13 Universal Pictures

Do the Right Thing

Salvatore "Sal" Fragione, an Italian owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn, and neighborhood local Buggin' Out butt heads after Buggin' Out becomes upset that the restaurant's Wall of Fame only shows Italian actors. Tensions flare up as the wall becomes a symbol of racism and hate to others in the neighborhood. 

12 of 13 Annapurna Pictures

If Beale Street Could Talk

Director Barry Jenkins followed his Moonlight Oscar success with a powerful adaptation of James Baldwin's novel about the love between an African American couple torn apart when the man is falsely accused of a crime. 

13 of 13 Lionsgate


Daveed Diggs plays a young man just trying to get by in the final days of his probation, but his relationship with his best friend is tested when he witnesses a cop shoot a man.

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