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Keep Watchin’ | May: Motherhood, Matriculation, Movement

(“High on the Hog: How African American Food Transformed America” is a docuseries chronicling the history of Black cuisine from Africa to America. [Netflix])

This month we are sharing films that fit the Lighthouse’s theme for May: Motherhood, Matriculation, and Movement. While some of these films were recently released, a few just fit the theme so well. So, we just had to throw them in! We hope you find a few films for your movie night this week.


In the film adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, Viola Davis plays Rose Lee Maxon, a woman caught between her roles as a mother and a wife. Davis brings the character of Rose to life and paints a picture of strength, responsibility, and forgiveness in her portrayal.  Watch it on HBO MAX.

Tell Them We Are Rising

Stanley Nelson has dedicated his career to using historical films for contemporary social justice causes, and his most recent film, Tell Them We Are Rising, continues in this tradition. This documentary tells the 150-year-old history of Black colleges and universities in America and their influence on American culture, politics, and history. From creating the Black middle class to cultivating Black intellectual thought, HBCUs have had a powerful impact in Black life and finally that story is being shared. You can watch this documentary on Amazon Prime.

The Underground Railroad

Based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, this series follows Cora as she journeys to find freedom. Scarred by her mother’s escape to freedom without her, Cora struggles to make meaningful connections with passengers, conductors, and engineers on the Underground Railroad. Through her story, we learn about the wounds – visible and invisible – we carry from the systems that oppress us and how, even when carrying immense weight, people still move towards freedom. This series premiered on May 14. Check it out on Amazon Prime.

In Our Mother’s Garden

Shantrelle P. Lewis paraphrases the title of Alice Walker’s famous essay collection as the title for her film. As both director and subject, Lewis has created a documentary that features and focuses on the matrilineal heritage of Black women and how it cultivates traditions, cultures, and values for generations to come. These stories and images of Black mothers and grandmothers are relatable, makes visible the complex histories of Black women, and reminds us that healing is possible. Now available on Netflix.

High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America

Based on Jessica B. Harris’ book of the same name, this four-episode docuseries demonstrates that Black food is American food. Made with an intentionally Black creative team, this does something unusual for a show about Blackness: it mostly avoids the white gaze of the entertainment industry and focuses on Black Joy. Check this one out to gain some new recipes and witness a true celebration of Blackness. The show is available on Netflix.


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