Representation of Black women in film is getting better but it’s still heavily biased. Show me our nerds, geeks, techies, and fangirls. Our cosplayers, designers, painters, and illustrators. Where’s our writers, storytellers, tap dancers, and chefs. Our entrepreneurs, our scholars, our mathematicians. Our fun girls, our funny women. Our deaf women, our blind women, our amputees, and autistic women. Show me every shade, every shape, and every texture. Hell, I’d take a manic pixie dream girl for the representation alone! And let me stop you now before you utter the words “well, what about…”. Naming off one, solitary movie where one of these categories is covered isn’t good enough. It simply isn’t.
So for today’s Top 5 Netflix Canada suggestions I wanted to give you a variety of choices, not just 5 movies where Black women are expected to be strong, maternal, or angry. We’re so much more than that. And although there aren’t loads of options to choose from (the heart of the problem) there are a few that are worth watching and I hope you do!
Top5: Black Women To Watch (on NetflixCA right now!)
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019)
If you’re a book nerd you know full well this is essential viewing. I will always choose an autobiographical piece over a biography the I can because no one knows a person better than themselves. To listen to Ms. Morrison examine her life and work is a gift.
She Did That (2019)
*Renae Bluitt, Sterling Milan
Uplifting and inspirational. Those are the first words that come to mind. An hour and 11 minutes of Black Women interviewing Black Women Entrepreneurs. You’d think that this was an unnecessary niche BUT when you listen to these women explain the hardships they’ve faced you’ll understand why this documentary is important. It’s also a matter of representation. There’s something so beautiful about seeing these women working towards their dreams. I would especially recommend this one if you have teenagers to help ingrain this representation of hard work, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit in their minds young.
Jewel’s Catch One (2016)
This documentary covers 4 decades of Jewel’s Catch One, the oldest Black Owned disco in L.A and its original owner Jewel Thais Williams. Sometimes known as the “unofficial Studio 54”, Jewel’s Catch One was a hub for celebrities and a safe haven for the LGBTQ2 and Black communities.
Juanita is a lovely little film about the lifelong journey of finding yourself. We tend to view our lives in big moments or accomplishments instead of chapters, leaving some confusion as to what you’re supposed to do when the big moments of our younger years are over. Alfre Woodard takes us on a road trip though the next chapter in this heartwarming story.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)
*George C. Wolfe
August Wilson’s original play (of the same name) was loosely based on the life and times of Gertrude “Ma Rainey” Pridgett, and was born out of a love of the blues. Viola Davis brings her signature power, grit, and heat to this role making it a must watch this month!
You know I had to include a whole bonus section for the comedians. These stand ups had me howling and that’s the truth. Check them out if you’re looking to laugh tonight!
Leslie Jones: Time Machine (2020)
Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah (2019)
Michelle Buteau:Welcome To Beautopia (2020)
Sam Jay: 3 In The Morning (2020)
Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (2019)
Gina Yashere: Laughing to America (2013)