Netflix Pick of the Week – BLM Double Feature

With everything that’s been going on lately, I decided to do a special “Netflix Pick of the Week” in honour of the Black Lives Matter movement.  It just so happens that I had decided to catch up on the Marvel’s Defenders shows a couple of weeks ago, and last week I started Luke Cage season 2.  I decided to make this week’s blog post a double feature when I then watched 13th on Netflix after hearing that documentary mentioned on social media quite a bit in the past week.

Although it’s a good start to consume media produced by and featuring people of colour, we all need to make an effort to end racism and police brutality.  Donate, sign petitions, protest, have those difficult conversations about race with friends and family, and amplify melanated voices. Do whatever you can.

Note: Normally, I include all relevant tags in my blog posts but I will not be doing that this time.  My voice is not the one that needs to be heard right now, so it won’t do anyone any good if I piggy-back off of the BLM related hashtags.  Those hashtags should be used for sharing useful information about the movement and about the protests. I’m sure this has all been said over and over again over the past week, but please don’t use these hashtags unless you are sharing important information.

Without further ado, here are my Netflix picks this week…

img_0225Luke Cage Season 2, Created by Cheo Hodari Coker – Action, Crime, Drama: After the events of Defenders, Luke is back to protecting Harlem from characters like Mariah Dillard/Stokes, Shades, and newcomer Bushmaster. Throughout the season, he tries to cope with his newfound fame while dealing with the stress from his personal relationships. He still gets asked out for “coffee”.

Pros: This season is much stronger than the first.  Apart from an abundance of strong female characters and people of colour, there is phenomenal music and use of colour (specifically yellow) in every episode. I love how this series is a nod to the Blaxploitation films of the 70s,

Cons: I love the friendship between Danny and Luke, but it felt weird that the rich, white man served as a kind of deus ex machina for some of the problems that came up.  I’m glad that they at least addressed the fact that his money gives him more power that his iron fist.

Final Thoughts: The ending of the series felt a little ambiguous, and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it.  I would have loved a third season because I think the stories that could have come out of that situation would have been fantastic.

img_022613th Directed by Ava DuVernay – Documentary, Crime, News: This documentary examines the history of the legal and penal system in the United States, the history of slavery and the discrimination of people of colour, and how those two histories are intertwined. The history surrounding the 13th Amendment shows that slavery and discrimination continue to last long after the Civil War.

Pros: Interviews, news reels, music, and graphics were used to tell this story.  The use of music to break up the decades was really ingenious. But it was the use of the word “criminal” that really stood out.  Every time the word was said, the word appeared on screen against a black background to emphasize the point.

Cons: The only cons were the convicts.  But seriously, nothing really comes to mind for me.  I don’t think I would change anything about how this story was told. And it was so well directed and edited that if I were to discuss a con, it would just be nitpicking.

Final Thoughts: I was really impressed that a variety of people of different races and genders were interviewed, and that they all had different jobs or forms of expertise that made them integral to this kind of documentary.  But I was really blown away by how many of those people had been formerly convicted of crimes. It made their interviews more meaningful because in some of those cases they had personally experienced some of what was being brought up in the documentary. I’m also a little shocked that this documentary came out in 2016 and we are really only just hearing about it because of current events.

Bonus: If you don’t have access to Netflix, 13th is available on YouTube for free:

Black Lives Matter

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