Entertainment

These Movies Encapsulate The Black And Afro-Latino Experience From Sci-Fi To Documentaries

What are you doing to celebrate Black History Month? If your answer is something such as “what can I do?” Here’s a tip: lots! Education and understanding is the first step at correcting ignorance of other cultures. We’ve narrowed down the best movies about the Black experience that will feed your soul and your mind. While some of these may be fictional (even sci-fi), there’s still an abundance of truth within them. This kind of binge-watching is actually good for you, so happy Black History Month!

“Loving”

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While many of us might be in interracial relationships, these legal unions weren’t always allowed. If it weren’t for the love and bond between Mildred and Richard Loving, many of us wouldn’t be able to get married simply because of the color of our skin. “Loving” tells the story of this extraordinary couple who fought for love and won.

“Moonlight”

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Being Black is hard enough, now imagine what that must feel like for a gay Black boy. The discrimination and bigotry toward this community, within their own community, is horrific, which why this movie is so important to witness.

“The Color Purple”

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Based on the book by Alice Walker, “The Color Purple” shows what life for Black people was like during the slave era and its lasting repercussions. The movie is powerful, moving, and unforgettable.

“BlacKkKlansman”

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If you watch this movie without knowing it’s a true story, there’s no way someone would ever fathom that something like a Black man infiltrating the KKK could be possible. But it is, which makes this movie even better. Directed by Spike Lee, and based on the story of Ron Stallworth, the film not only looks at life for Black people post Civil Rights movement, but how it is today.

“Get Out”

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Yes, “Get Out” is a scary af movie, but what makes it scarier is understanding how the feelings of being in the “Sunken Place” is very accurate and very real. Gentrification isn’t something that can just happen in communities; it can also occur to your mind.

“Malcolm X”

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This movie starring a young Denzel Washington tells the story of American Muslim minister and human rights activist, Malcolm X. While he and Martin Luther King Jr valued the same equality, they had very different beliefs on how to achieve that. This film focuses on his life, his work, and his legacy.

“Black Panther”

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“Wakanda Forever” isn’t a make-believe place that exists in another world. It is also a state of mind. That is something that will resonate with you after watching “Black Panther” which is way more than a superhero movie.

“13th”

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If you genuinely want to feel depressed but also educated you must watch this Ava DuVernay-documentary. It will not only school you on the incredibly unjust justice system in the country, but it will also show how America has been against Black people from the very start.

“Sorry To Bother You”

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One of the trippest movies about the Black experience has to be “Sorry To Bother You” about what it’s like trying to get out of poverty while being Black and seeking to climb that social ladder.

“Pelo Malo”

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Trying to be beautiful as a brown person isn’t an easy thing, especially when society tells you the white and straight hair is better. In “Pelo Malo” — bad hair— we meet a young Venezuelan boy who wants to straighten his curly hair and as a result, causes tension with himself and his single mom.

“Roots”

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Written by Alex Haley — “Roots” became a phenomenon as a mini-series not only for an extraordinary cast but more important because of its historical value. The story centers around a slave named Kunta and his family, which begins in the 1800s. It’s a compelling look at slavery in America and what people will do for their freedom.

“The Pursuit of Happyness”

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Chris Gardner, a single father of a young boy, is a smart man, there’s no question about that. However, being an intelligent Black man sometimes isn’t enough in this country. This true story shows what exact determination looks like, and what the human spirit is capable of especially when you’re trying to raise a family.

“Selma”

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While many of us might know the story of Martin Luther King, some of us don’t understand the kind of work he did in communities that resulted in his massive legacy. “Selma” shows precisely that.

“Black In Latin America”

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What does being Black actually mean? The answer to that is the focus to this 2011 documentary starring Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. who explores “how Africa and Europe came together to create the rich culture of Latin America and the Caribbean.” The documentary features Black people from six countries including Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru.

“Standing in the Shadows of Motown”

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To understand the birth of rock and roll is to realize that it began with the rhythm and blues, which is a sound that was created by black singers and musicians. “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” is a documentary that shows how America embraced the sound and music of Black people but only when a white man was singing it.

“12 Years a Slave”

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When we see movies about slavery, for some reason, they always take place in the south. One reason for that is because there were Black people on the northeast coast that were living as free people. “12 Years A Slave,” tells the true story of one such Black man that was educated, a musician, and was free, until he wasn’t.

“Hoop Dreams”

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Black boys that live in poverty in the inner city who dream about getting out of that situation can at times only turn to their talents as their ticket out. For some it could be as artists, for others it can be sports. “Hoop Dreams” looks at the lives of a few young men in Chicago who have aspirations of going pro in the NBA. However, sometimes their reality can keep them from getting there. This is an extraordinary documentary about what it looks like to have a desire to improve your life.

City of God”

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Someone’s life can dramatically be different if only they made a left turn instead of a right. For two friends growing up in Rio — and in one of the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods in the world – one chooses to be a photographer while the other gets involved in the drug world. But are they all that different especially when they’re from the same place?

“Fruitvale Station”

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Police brutality in the U.S. is a real thing that had existed long before we ever had cell phones to capture it. “Fruitvale Station” is a true story about a young Black man who was killed at the hands of police, thankfully because of good people watching out for each other, we can know the truth about what happened that night.

“Buena Vista Social Club”

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When Fidel Castro took over Cuba, it’s as if time stood still and even the music of that time was erased simply because of politics. In this documentary, we meet old Cuban musicians that reunite to bring back the music of pre-Castro when Cuba was still thriving, which in turn jump starts their musical career once again.

“Barry”

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Former President Barack Obama made history when he was elected the first Black president of the United States, so his story is a crucial one to know. In “Barry” we see how the young man came to be one of the most believed presidents of all time.

READ: You Have To Check Out These Spanish-Language Movies On Netflix Right Now

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This App Lets You Discover The Indigenous Past Of A Place Simply By Using GPS Location

Things That Matter

This App Lets You Discover The Indigenous Past Of A Place Simply By Using GPS Location

Native Lands

For all the (let’s be absolutely honest here!) banal uses of social media out there, sometimes developers use the geolocative capabilities of smartphones to make the world a more inclusive place. This app looks at the history of a place and reveals how it was originally organized by the traditional owners of the land before processes of colonization and dispossession reshaped the maps of what is now known as the Americas. Digital media allows us to visualize things that are already there, so next time you step on indigenous land you can quietly acknowledge it. 

Through location, the Native Land app lets you unearth the indigenous heritage of a place.

Credit: Native Land

The app was developed in Canada, a country which was a complex network of indigenous groups before French and British colonial powers redrew the map. The app can be accessed both through mobile devices (it works on iOS and Android) and through a browser based map. It includes key information such as a group’s language, name and whether the land was ceded (most likely by force or through a deceptive deal) through a treaty. It is a work in progress, so bear with the developers please!

They state before you even start looking for the indigenous past of a territory based on your postcode: “This map does not represent or intend to represent official or legal boundaries of any Indigenous nations. To learn about definitive boundaries, contact the nations in question. Also, this map is not perfect — it is a work in progress with tons of contributions from the community. Please send us fixes if you find errors”. So if you have information that the developers could use to make the app more precise, they are more than open to new findings that could make this collaborative tool a more accurate representation of the indigenous imprint on a place. Ready to find out more about the place that you call home? Click here

Remember: maps are only political and not set on stone, so the map you know was drawn by colonial powers.

Credit: Native Land

Contrary to what we might believe, maps are hardly set on stone. In fact, how a territory is named and where boundaries sit is evidence of historical processes through which lands are taken. Just look at this map of North America and think about all the blood that has been shed by the original owners of the land just so we can identify just three countries today. There were hundreds of discreet ethnic groups in Canada, Mexico and the United States before the European superpowers of Britain, France and Spain landed and created havoc. 

But the past is past, right? So why should we care? Well, we should care, a lot, particularly in today’s political climate. Let’s take this map of the California area as an example.

Credit: Native Land

So why is becoming familiar with the indigenous past of place important? Because it tells us that the borders that exist today are practically a human invention rather than something set on stone, and that unless you have indigenous heritage we are all guests. California, for example, was populated by a wide variety of peoples who were conquered by the Spanish or assimilated into mestizo culture through religion and language. So when white supremacists get all “America for the Americans” on Brown folk, they should be reminded that the land is and has always been indigenous. 

And this map of Australia is just nuts! Can you believe that colonial settlers have tried to make this country fully white and monolingual in the past?

Credit: Native Land

Australia is a young country that nevertheless has faced racism due to the aires de grandeza of some colonial settlers. Even though there has been a formal apology from the government towards aboriginal Australians, and there are constant acknowledgements to the fact that the land was never ceded, there remain great challenges to make the country truly inclusive for those who owned and thrived in the land in the first place. Just looking at this map makes you think of the wide variety of languages and traditions that existed in the island before the Dutch and English arrived

The ‘Sahuaraura’ Manuscript, An Ancient Peruvian Document That Was Thought Lost—Was Found Just Last Week, Over 100 Years Later

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The ‘Sahuaraura’ Manuscript, An Ancient Peruvian Document That Was Thought Lost—Was Found Just Last Week, Over 100 Years Later

BBC / Twitter

The Sahuaraura manuscript is considered a fundamental part of Peruvian history and culture. This piece Peruvian history, written by hand, was lost for a century and a half. Placed under the care of the then Public Library of Lima, the document disappeared in 1883 inexplicably—and now, over a hundred years later, it’s been found.

A part of the history of Peru, written by hand, was lost for a century and a half.

Peru National Library

During the Pacific War from (between 1879 and 1883), a manuscript of great value, was lost. Placed under the safekeeping of the then Public Library of Lima, the document was mysteriously lost.

“Recuerdos de la monarquía peruana, ó bosquejo de la historia de los incas”

Twitter @dossieroficial

The document titled “Recuerdos de la monarquía peruana,ó bosquejo de la historia de los incas” was a historical treaties written by hand by the priest, scholar and national hero, ‘Justo Sahuaraura Inca’, whom, it was believed, was a descendant of the sovereign, Huayna Capac, third Sapan Inka of the Inca Empire, born in Tumipampa and the second to last ruler over the Tahuantinsuyo empire.

The document disappeared for nearly 150 years.

twitter @bibliotecaperu

It wasn’t until 2015, when, by chance, the Sahuaraura manuscript was found thousands of kilometers away. The document was lost for nearly 150 years, nowhere to be found.

It was discovered in Brazil

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As it turned out, a family in Sao Paulo, had had it in their possession for over four decades —and hoped to sell it in the U.S. during a high profile auction by the renowned auction house, Sotheby’s.

Peruvian authorities are organizing an exhibition to show the document publicly in celebration of its return to Peru.

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After four years of formalities and paperwork, the Sahuaraura manuscript is finally back where it disappeared from, the now National Library of Perú. And to celebrate its return, authorities have organized an exhibition to show the document publicly for the first time. The return of the document took place just last week, and it was amongst 800 other historical and archaeological pieces including Incan ceramics, textiles and bibliographic materials that were all stolen decades ago —and that the Peruvian government finally located and retrieved from 6 different countries.

Of all the objects rescued, the manuscript holds a place of special importance for Peruvian history.

Peru National Library

The Sahuaraura text is considered a fundamental part of Peruvian historiography and the cultural value of the manuscript is ‘incalculable’. “Only this copy exists,” explained the Ministry of Peruvian Culture, Francesco Petrozzi, “and it tells us, very clearly, about a period in our history that we must all know about and study closely.”

It took, Sahuaraura, a member and descendant of the Incan noble family, years of research, consulting archives and documents —now lost— to be able to construct his primal history of Peru with data cited, very rarely, on other works about the arrival of Spanish conquistadors into this region of the continent.

The Sahuaraura manuscript includes an illustrated genealogy study.

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The book also goes into great detail about the genealogy of the rulers of the vast pre-columbian territories that conformed the Incan empire with its capital in Cusco, which provides a huge insight into the history of the region to modern researchers.

The manuscript details Peruvian history, from the foundations of the empire, until the largest indigenous rebellion against Spanish rule in the region.

twitter @bibliotecaperu

The text starts from Manco Cápac, who was thought to be the first ruler and founder of the Incan culture, and follows history all the way up to Túpac Amaru, the indigenous leader who fronted the largest anti-colonial rebellion in Latin America in the XVIII century.

What is known of Sahuaraura, the scholar himself?

Museo Histórico Regional de Cusco

The priest and scholar is an icon of Peruvian culture and history. He was born towards the end of the XVIII century and he was the son of a leader of one of the regions of Cusco, which is why some chroniclers believe he belonged to the highest lines of Incan nobility.  He became a priest and joined the Catholic church, which named him synodal examiner of the bishopric and general liaison with six provinces of Cusco.

It is said that he received Simon Bolivar himself —a Venezuelan military and political leader who led the independence of what are currently the states of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama from the Spanish Empire —in his own house, and that the libertador gave him a medal for his services toward the freedom of Peru.

Sahuaraura also documented important literary works of the Incan empire in his works.

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Among the many other manuscripts that the scholar worked on, and that also compile different aspects of Incan history, there is a literary anthology of the empire. This document includes the codex of Ollantay drama, considered by some, the most ancient expression of Quechua literature.

Sahuaraura himself went missing.

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Nothing is known about the death of this scholar. Sahuaraura himself went missing from Peruvian history at a time unknown. All that is known is that he retired somewhere in Cusco, and no one ever knew anything about him after. There is no information on the place or date of his death.