What I’m Watching This Week
To see what I've watched previously, you can click here.
This week, I decided to dedicate my viewing to things to help educate me.
I was watching an episode of Ellen and the documentary 13th was mentioned so I watched it. It is a documentary made by Ava Duvernay. She also directed Selma and When They See Us. 13th is on Netflix and is about mass incarceration, the criminalization of African Americans, and a broken legal and prison system. I honestly had more than one light bulb moment. There was so much in this documentary that I never knew or never thought to question. 13th was nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars and won the Best Documentary honors at Emmys, the BAFTAs, and the NAACP Image Awards.
There are some very powerful, but also upsetting images in this documentary. For example, personally, I never knew Emmett Till had an open casket and I never would have sought out the photos of his funeral. However, they are shown in the documentary and they were quite shocking.
Ava Duvernay, as mentioned above, also directed When They See Us which is available on Netflix as well. It is about the Central Park Five or as they like to be known, The Exonerated Five. The four-part limited series was made with cooperation from the guys themselves and their families. It's about the 1989 case of Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, and Raymond Santana. These boys were all in their teens in 1989 and were accused of the assault and rape of Patricia Miley. The show deals with so many issues including police coercion and unethical practices, racial bias, a broken legal system, prison reform, socio-economic bias, and so much more. Full warning, the last episode is absolutely heartbreaking. I can't believe these boys actually lived through this. There is also an Oprah special with the cast and their real-life counterparts available on Netflix. It is definitely worth a watch as well.
I also watched Just Mercy on Amazon. Just Mercy was released around Christmas of 2019 and stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. Just Mercy tells the true story of Walter McMillian. He was put on death row for a crime he did not commit. Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer and recent Harvard graduate. He decides to use his expertise to help people who cannot afford proper legal representation. I ugly cried during the movie more than once. It really is a great movie and very poignantly speaks to the challenges our country is facing right now. On a personal level, this movie was hard for me to watch because I was supposed to see it with my mom, but she passed away before we could go see it.
Just Mercy was made available to rent for free on all streaming rental platforms. I watched it on Amazon which has a whole Black Lives Matter section of documentaries and movies to stream for free.