13 series and movies that are similar to When They See Us
These series, movies and documentaries explore the social justice issues that have necessitated the #blacklivesmatter movement, and are the perfect playlist to accompany Ava DuVernay’s tough-but-essential series When They See Us, based on the true story of the five teens from Harlem who were wrongfully accused of a brutal attack in Central Park in 1989.
Stream all of these shows on Showmax, Netflix and DStv Now in South Africa.
Every year, hundreds of kids from across the US take part in a festival inspired by Martin Luther King Jr, performing poetry and speeches based on his legacy. Follow the process they go through to prepare for the event. The 2018 biopic I Am MLK Jr is also on Showmax.
The heart-wrenching true story of Oscar Grant is told in this award-winning film. On New Years’ Day 2009, 22-year-old Oscar finds himself in an altercation with police that shatters his life and fractures his community.
Examining the 1995 trial of one of America’s best loved sports icons, this documentary series, consisting of four episodes, each feature-film length, puts Simpson’s time in the courtroom, and the outcome of the trial, in the context of racial tensions in the United States.
Atlantics, 2019 (Netflix)
In Dakar, Suleiman and his friends stop their work on a skyscraper once and for all because of months of withheld wages. Instead, they take to the sea, looking for a better, brighter future. Suleiman leaves Ada, the woman he loves, behind, and she has to face her arranged marriage to another man. But alongside these contemporary social issues, the film delves into the supernatural, and in doing so, as the London Evening Standard writes, French-Senegalese director Mati Diop “practically invents a new genre”.
Seven Seconds S1 (Netflix)
This crime drama follows the investigation into the death of a 15-year-old black teen in Jersey City, which explodes with racial tension after the boy is killed in a hit and run, with a white cop behind the wheel.
Us, 2019 (Showmax)
Set along the Northern California coastline, this chilling thriller follows Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and their two children on a summer getaway that takes a nightmarish turn when they encounter terrifying doppelgängers of themselves.
Blackkklansman, 2018 (Netflix)
Acclaimed director Spike Lee tells this incredible and unbelievable true story. An African American police officer in Colorado manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate.
All Day And A Night, 2020 (Netflix)
A powerful, unflinching drama about a young man contemplating his life in prison, from Black Panther co-writer Joe Robert Cole, starring Ashton Sanders (Moonlight), Jeffrey Wright (Westworld), Isaiah John (Snowfall) and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen).
Pose S1-2 (Netflix)
Immerse yourself in the glamour and luxury of 1980s New York in this highly rated LGBTQ musical dance series, which embraces the message that Black Trans Lives Matter.
Dear White People S1-3 (Netflix)
This popular series based on the film follows four black students at a predominantly white Ivy League college. Facing prejudice, bias and slippery politics at every turn, they set out to let their fellow students in on the fact that their college isn’t as “post-racial” as everyone likes to think.
Laugh-out-loud funny, not afraid to be controversial and unprecedented in sketch comedy TV history, A Black Lady Sketch Show is created by, written by, directed by and starring a stellar array of black women. Creator Robin Thede executive produces, writes and stars, with Issa Rae (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for HBO’s Insecure) producing.
Insecure S1-4 (Showmax)
Rotten Tomatoes’ critics consensus calls the show “an insightful, raunchy, and hilarious journey through the life of a twentysomething black woman that cuts through stereotypes with sharp wit and an effusive spirit.”
Inspired by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic DC graphic novel, Watchmen is set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws. The first episode opens with the real-life Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, when KKK members killed hundreds of black citizens – and, in real life, were never brought to book.