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8 Black Documentary Films Everyone Should Watch

“Have You Heard From Johannesburg?”

“Have You Heard From Johannesburg?” is a seven-part documentary series that shines light on the global citizens movements that took on South Africa’s apartheid regime. It focuses on one of South Africa’s most important and powerful allies, the United States, which becomes a key battleground in the anti-apartheid movement as African-Americans lead the charge to change the government’s policy toward the apartheid regime. Strengthened through years of grassroots organizing during the civil rights movement, black leaders and their allies take on U.S. foreign policy on South Africa, directing campaigns in corporate boardrooms, universities, embassies, and finally in the U.S. Congress itself, where a stunning victory is won against the formidable opposition of President Ronald Reagan. African-Americans alter U.S. foreign policy for the first time in history, and the U.S. — once the backbone of support for apartheid South Africa as its ally in the Cold War — finally imposes sanctions on Pretoria.

“500 Years Later”

Filmmaker Owen Alik Shahadah explores the tragic legacy of trans-Atlantic slave trade that forced untold millions of Africans from their homeland and the unique challenges that have resulted from this displacement. Through penetrating interviews with scholars and laypeople alike — and ranging from the United States to London to Barbados — this unflinching documentary sheds new light on the problems of racial inequalities, poverty and oppression.

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