At Graydon Skincare, we believe in embracing diversity and practicing inclusivity. We recognize the past and present day issues of systemic inequality and acknowledge that more work needs to be done in order to create a truly inclusive society.
I encourage everyone to learn more about black history and celebrate the many achievements and contributions of black people. In honour of Black History Month, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite movies that depict the stories of black people and the ongoing fight for equality.
Movies to watch
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird follows Atticus Finch, a white lawyer who believes that all people deserve equal treatment. As such, he defends Tom Robinson, a black man accused of committing a heinous crime against a white woman. This heightens tensions in the fictional Alabama town where the story takes place.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
Joanna, a young white woman raised with liberal values, brings home her fiancé John, a widowed, black physician. During dinner, Joanna's parents' attitude and apprehension cause trouble for the couple. This movie explores themes such as religion, social class, racism and sexism.
The Color Purple (1985)
Based on the novel by Alice Walker, the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Color Purple depicts the life of Celie, a young black woman living in the Southern United States during the early 1900s. It highlights Celie’s struggle to find her own identity after suffering decades of abuse.
The Butler (2013)
Loosely inspired by the life of Eugene Allen, The Butler tells the story of Cecil Gaines. As a young boy, he was raised on a cotton plantation and trained as a house servant. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, Cecil is hired as a butler for the White House, where he works for over 30 years.
Hidden Figures (2016)
Inspired by the non-fiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly, this movie follows three black, female mathematicians who had a pivotal role at NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. The trio, who helped to propel astronaut John Glenn's launch into orbit, brings to light racial and gender discrimination in the workplace.
This biographical movie tells the story of Harriet Tubman. Born into slavery, Harriet escapes by herself but returns for her family. She subsequently helps dozens of others escape salvery using the network known as The Underground Railroad.
Other must-watch media
I'd also like to share two other eye-opening pieces of media that were recommended by my friend, Ingrid.
Jane Elliott's Blue Eyes / Brown Eyes Experiment (1968)
Jane Elliott, an American diversity educator, first gave this lesson on April 5, 1968 (one day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated). The lesson is on discrimination and how our words have power and consequences. Click here to watch.
The Racism Discussion with Oprah and Jane Elliott (1992)
In this Oprah Show episode, Jane Elliott teaches the audience a tough lesson about racism by demonstrating just how easy it is to learn prejudice. This segment is a clear indication of how painful it is to be seen and treated differently than others. Click here to watch.
I hope these movies are as impactful to you as they are to me. We must continue to share, celebrate and understand the positive impact of black heritage and culture, not just during Black History Month but all year.