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STEALTH ISOLATION: 5 BLACK DOCUMENTARIES TO EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE

With what can seem like infinite choices in films on streaming platforms, it can be difficult to find something to watch that truly piques your interest. During this time of quarantines and social distancing, it’s easy to run through several movies and documentaries in the course of a week and still find yourself unsatisfied with the content you’ve taken in.

In the streaming world, there’s an unspoken reality that great documentaries can become buried in the barrage of choices. And searching for a documentary that celebrates the life and achievements of Black icons within the countless titles can become an unwanted time suck. Here are five Black documentaries that are streaming for your intellectual pleasure.

“The Last Dance” (Netflix, ESPN)

ESPN’s 10-part documentary series, “The Last Dance,” charts the rise of the 1990s Chicago Bulls, one of the most notable dynasties in sports history. The docuseries gives a definitive look at the Chicago Bulls and at Michael Jordan’s career and is packed with unaired footage from the 1997–98 Chicago Bulls season, Jordan’s final season with the team.

“The Apollo” (Hulu, Amazon Prime)

Filmmaker Roger Ross Williams looks at the storied history of the iconic Apollo Theater while following The Apollo’s inaugural staging of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ acclaimed “Between the World and Me.” 

“Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat” (Hulu) 

Never-before-seen works, writings and photographs offer insight into the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat as a teenager in New York in the late 1970s. The times, the people and the movements of the city helped Basquiat form his artistic vision.

“The Black Godfather” (Netflix)

The Black Godfather is a Netflix original documentary film directed by Reginald Hudlin. The film depicts the story of the boisterous, eccentric and self taught music executive Clarence Avant, told by the people he mentored, supported and worked with.

“Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror” (Amazon Prime)

“Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror” begins with a proposal: “Black history is Black horror.” The film presents the idea that there’s a mirroring relationship between the horror genre and the African American experience. Executive producer Tananarive Due finds the two to be inextricably linked.

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