Inspiring Netflix Picks

19 November 2017, 19:51 UTC |

It’s a Saturday night and your staring at Netflix and trying decide what to watch. You've already finished the latest seasons of Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black and you’re looking for your next binge-able option. Good thing we have you covered with these inspiring suggestions to make you laugh, cry, think and stay positive and aware of the intersectional issues facing us today.

Series

Master of None

Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series is a platform for minorities to take centre stage, surpassing the typical “token” supporting role. The incorporation of comedy into social commentary and experimental styles engage viewers in the trials and tribulations of Ansari’s character Dev, whose narrative includes recognising his parents’ immigrant experiences from India, while not feeling confined to any exclusive demographic.  

One Day At A Time 

A war vet mom does her best to make her home a safe haven for her kids in a comedy that incorporates social issues like racism and LGBTI discrimnation. You'll barely notice you're learning between all the laughs. 

Time: The Kalief Browder Story

A docuseries that tells the tragic story of Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old teenager from New York who was locked up in Rikers Island jail for three years, despite never being convicted of a crime. While incarcerated, he was beaten and kept in solitary confinement.  

This incredible story highlights the discrimination and corruption in the US penal system. However, the most powerful aspect is the moral triumph of this young man. Warning - you may need your tissues nearby. 

Dear White People

This witty Netflix series reminds you to check your privilege before entering the fictional yet unnervingly realistic world at the predominantly white Winchester University. Although the title and premise stirred up controversy, a deeper analysis reveals the significance behind the satire: to address the complexities of prejudice that take different forms -- whether it’s white or light-skinned privilege, sexism, or homophobia. This smart series is required viewing. 

Documentaries

Awake: A Dream From Standing Rock 

This documentary is an inspiring testament of the strength and perseverance of the Water Protectors at Standing Rock and the importance of the right to protest. The film is unflinching in its documentation of the various abuses the water protectors suffered. The filmmakers are equally intimate in their recording of the celebratory and even spiritual moments of resistance that came out of the protest. Though some of the imagery is difficult to watch, you leave inspired by a group of people who never backed down from their fight, standing together for what they believe in until the very end. 

Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine 

Matt Shepard was a gay student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured and left for dead in October 1998 because of his sexuality. This became one of the most discussed hate crimes in the United States and brought international attention to hate crime legislation.  

This film takes an intimate and heartbreaking look at his tragically short life through interviews with Shepard's loved ones and video footage.  

13th 

The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution abolished holding individuals as slaves — except if they're considered criminals. This Ava DuVernay documentary argues that slavery has been perpetuated through a system of mass incarceration. DuVernay peels the lid open on the prison industrial complex, and this revelatory documentary is likely to change the way you think about everything from the systematic disenfranchisement of the black population, the war on drugs, and the privatisation of prisons. 

13th calls upon the expertise of activists, historians, journalists, politicians, and prisoners to help paint the complete, sorrowful picture of mass incarceration in the United States. 

She's Beautiful When She's Angry 

A must-watch for feminists. The documentary resurrects the buried history of the brilliant women who founded the modern women's movement from 1966 to 1971 — and the need for women to continue fighting for equality today.  

What Happened, Miss Simone? 

This film brilliantly fuses music journalism, civil rights history, mental health, and domestic violence issues, all as it tells the story of its incredible subject and activist, Nina Simone, from her early years all the way through to her final days. 

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P (the p stands for "don't pay it any mind") Johnson was a gay rights icon living in New York in '70s. When her body unexpectedly washed ashore in the Hudson River in 1992, police deemed it a suicide — but her friends and fellow members of the gay community weren't convinced. This documentary seeks to explain what happened to Marsha, and revive her lasting legacy on the community. 

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson' is necessary Netflix viewing for oft-forgotten LGBTI history.