Snacks Not Included

A film, TV and pop culture podcast

Must see documentaries to learn about black oppression and racism

By on June 19, 2020

We are living in a time of immense change. The lynching of George Floyd has been the catalyst for a much overdue worldwide movement for black lives.

There is a whole history and education we have not been given in our schools and beyond. Many people are looking for documentaries that give insight & history into the black experience of racism and oppression.

Whilst it will take more than watching documentaries to fully understand the hundreds of years of subjugation, racism & oppression black people have experienced this its definitely a good jump off.

Here are a selection of documentaries that Snacks Not Included recommend to understand the understand the black experience of racism and oppression both in the UK and overseas.


The 13th

The 13th” is a powerful and thought-provoking documentary that explores the history of systemic racism and oppression against Black people in America. This multiple award-winning film exposes the deep-rooted racial inequalities in the criminal justice system and how it perpetuates the modern-day slavery of Black Americans. Through a series of interviews, historical footage, and statistics, the film highlights how the 13th amendment to the US Constitution, which abolished slavery, has been used to justify mass incarceration and the targeting of Black communities. With its powerful narrative and compelling storytelling,

13TH | official trailer (2016) Netflix

Available on Netflix and they have also made it available for free on YouTube


Black and British: A Forgotten History


David Olusoga explores Britain’s history, examining the country’s relationship with people of African descent. Throughout the documentary Olusoga visits historically significant sites and erects 20 plaques over Britain, Africa and the Caribbean to commemorate events and people.

Available on BBC iPlayer


Blacks Britannica

A documentary illustrating the black community’s understanding of, and response to, racism in Britain. It presents from a black working class perspective, an analysis of racism within the context of British history and the post-war crisis of the British economy. At the same time the film reflects the increasingly militant response within the black community to the continuing attacks upon it, both by organised fascist elements on the streets, and by the state itself.

"Blacks' Britannica" (1978 Banned film on immigration and racism)

PBS refused to air this 1978 documentary as the creators intended, and instead broadcast a heavily censored version in August 1978. PBS then filed a lawsuit against the director to prevent him from distributing the film. The deputy director of the British Information Service in the U.S. called Blacks’ Britannica “dangerous,” and the film was banned in the U.K. It was eventually broadcast in its unedited form in 1989, by a small, independent cable program called “Alternative News” in Austin, Texas.

Available on YouTube


The Black Power Mixtape

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 is a unique documentary that offers a fresh and candid perspective on the Black Power and anti-war movements in the United States during the 60s and 70s. This award-winning film, which features never-before-seen 16mm footage discovered in a Swedish cellar, offers a glimpse into the people, culture, and society that fuelled this era of convulsive change.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 - Movie Trailer (2011) HD

With contemporary audio interviews from leading African American artists, activists, musicians, and scholars, this documentary is a must-watch for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of this pivotal time in history.

Available on MUBI


The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson

When Stonewall Veteran and beloved Greenwich Village personality Marsha P Johnson turned up dead shortly after Gay Pride in 1992, it was the latest in a series of murders, gay bashings, and “mysterious” deaths in the local gay community. Johnson is seen in footage at a political march shortly before this, at an action trying to draw attention to these hate crimes.

Tragically, Johnson then becomes the next victim. Like the other suspicious deaths, Johnson’s death is quickly dismissed as a “suicide”, even though there is no evidence that Johnson was suicidal, and significant evidence that Johnson was harassed and stalked on that very night. Demonstrations are held to protest the lack of police investigation, but it is not until decades later that transgender crime advocate Victoria Cruz succeeds in getting some answers.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

Available on Netflix


The Hard Stop

The Hard Stop takes a deep dive into the cultural and social issues that sparked the England riots of 2011 following the murder of Mark Duggan. Many saw the riots as simply “thuggery,” but this award-winning documentary sheds light on the cultural context behind the events. Through intimate interviews with Duggan’s friends and family, The Hard Stop gives a voice to those who are often ignored by the mainstream media. It’s a powerful and thought-provoking film that will leave you with a greater understanding of the complexities surrounding the events of that tumultuous time.

THE HARD STOP - Official UK Trailer. In cinemas 15 July 2016

Available on Amazon Video


I’m Not Your Negro

Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, I’m Not Your Negro is inspired by James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. The film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as his personal observations of American history.

I Am Not Your Negro - Official Trailer

Available on Amazon Video and BBC iPlayer




The struggles for justice by the families of people that have died in police custody.

In 1969 David Oluwale became the first black person to die in police custody in Britain. Many others have died since then. None of the police officers involved have been convicted of these deaths. In this documentary, the families of these victims ask “Why not?”

This is a blow by blow account of the relentless struggles of the families as they find out how they lost their loved ones in extremely violent deaths at the hands of police officers.
Each family is met with a wall of official secrecy and the film documents how they unite and challenge this together. The documentary uses powerful exclusive footage filmed over a five year period and witnesses the families pain and anger at the killings. It documents the fight to retrieve the bodies for burial, the mockery of police self-investigation and the collusion of the legal system in the deaths. The film asks why an accused killer in a police uniform is not judged by the same standards as the rest of society.

This film has never been shown on UK television. There is currently a petition to get it broadcast on UK TV

Available on Vimeo
Injustice from Migrant Media on Vimeo.


LA 92

Twenty-five years after the verdict in the Rodney King trial sparked several days of protests, violence and looting in Los Angeles, LA 92 immerses viewers in that tumultuous period through stunning and rarely seen archival footage. The film looks at the events of 1992 from a multitude of vantage points, bringing a fresh perspective to a pivotal moment that reverberates to this day.

LA 92 - Official Film Trailer | National Geographic

Available on Netflix


Strong Island

Strong Island is an American 2017 true-crime documentary film directed by Yance Ford. The film centers on the April 1992 murder of Ford’s brother William, a 24-year-old African-American teacher in New York, who was killed by Mark P. Reilly, a 19-year-old white chop shop mechanic. An all-white grand jury in Suffolk County declined to indict his killer, who claimed self-defence.

Strong Island uses this tragedy is paint a picture of racial injustice in modern America.

Strong Island | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

Available on Netflix and they have also made it available for free on YouTube


Time: The Kalief Browder Story

Unjustly accused and incarcerated, Kalief Browder’s story is a painful reminder of the broken criminal justice system in America. The powerful and emotional documentary, Time: The Kalief Browder Story, takes you on a journey through Kalief’s harrowing experiences and shines a light on the deep-rooted issues that led to his unjust imprisonment. With heart-wrenching interviews from Kalief’s family and friends, as well as commentary from influential figures in the criminal justice system, this series will leave you with a deep sense of urgency for change.

TIME: The Kalief Browder Story Trailer

Available on Netflix


Whose Streets?

Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. Empowered parents, artists, and teachers from around the country come together as freedom fighters. As the National Guard descends on Ferguson with military grade weaponry, these young community members become the torchbearers of a new resistance.

Whose Streets? - Official Trailer

Available on YouTube and iTunes

These documentaries offer a powerful and enlightening look into the realities of systemic racism and the need for change. We hope this list has inspired you to watch and learn from these important films.

Black lives matter!!!

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