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After Netflix added “The Help” to its catalogue of movies, TV shows and documentaries for streaming, it quickly became the most streamed movie on the service, following nationwide protests of police brutality and systemic racism.

“The Help” was released in 2011 and stars Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard. The movie follows a writer, played by Stone, who wishes to tell the story of Black women who have spent their lives taking care of wealthy white families. The film received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and Spencer received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. 

The film has been well received by many, but has been heavily criticized by activists, as well as Davis herself, for focusing too heavily on the story of the wealthy white women as opposed to the stories of the Black women. These critiques have resurfaced after activists criticized white people for watching “The Help” to “educate” themselves on Black issues.

Marc Dudley, an associate professor in the Department of English who teaches classes on African American literature, recommended some literature, films and albums that more effectively show the Black experience in America; are written, directed or produced by Black people; or are otherwise standard in the canon of Black literature. Nashia Whittenburg, the director of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA), and Marcela Torres-Cervantes, the assistant director for community outreach and engagement for MSA, also provided a list of anti-racist works that have been compiled by MSA as well as their own personal recommendations.

Novels:

  • “Invisible Man” - Ralph Ellison

  • “Kindred” - Octavia Butler

  • “Beloved” - Toni Morrison

  • “Babel-17” - Samuel Delaney

  • “The Hate U Give” - Angie Thomas

  • “Not Without Laughter” - Langston Hughes

  • “Salvage the Bones” - Jesmyn Ward

  • “The Underground Railroad” - Colson Whitehead

Movies:

  • “Do the Right Thing” - Spike Lee

  • “Get Out” - Jordan Peele

  • “Ali” - Michael Mann

  • “Malcolm X” - Spike Lee

Short Stories:

  • “Recitatif” - Toni Morrison

  • “Sonny’s Blues” - James Baldwin

Documentaries:

  • “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Hill” - Keith Beauchamp

  • “Seizing Justice: The Greensboro 4” - Lynn Kessler

  • “February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four” - Rebecca Cerese and Steven Channing

  • “Stranger Fruit” - Jason Pollack

  • “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” - David France

Albums:

  • Stand” - Ayo Norm, a third-year in environmental technology and management

Non-Fiction Works and Theory:

  • “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” - Michelle Alexander

  • “Black Power: The Politics of Liberation” - Kwame Ture and Charles V. Hamilton

  • “Assata: An Autobiography” - Assata Shakur

  • “Black Feminist Thought” - Patricia Hill Collins

  • “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body” - Roxane Gay

  • “All About Love: New Visions” - Bell Hooks

  • “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” - Isabel Wilkerson

  • “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More” - Janet Mock

  • “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” - Charles Blow

Essays:

  • “The Fire Next Time” - James Baldwin

  • “Between the World and Me” - Ta-Nehisi Coates

Authors:

  • Toni Morrison

  • James Baldwin

  • Audre Lorde

  • Zora Neale Hurston

  • Maya Angelou

  • Alice Walker

  • Angela Davis

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Arts & Entertainment Editor

My name is Austin Dunlow and I am the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Technician. I'm in the Graduating Class of 2021 with a major in Political Science. I have been at Technician since February of 2019.