When the 24-hour news cycle bombards us with information on our devices on the daily, sometimes I find myself needing to take a step back.
I don’t completely estrange myself from daily news headlines but sometimes I need another outlet to receive information on social issues.
In short, I need information delivered to me in a different and more humanizing form — through the lens of story-telling.
That is why I click on the documentary tab on Netflix.
Whether I want to delve into the life of a female artist or public figure or whether I want to follow a filmmaker’s investigation on a systemic issue or historical event, sometimes a gal wants to lay in bed and immerse myself in a story whether it takes me around the world or into the history of my own neighborhood of Harlem.
Peep these 6 documentaries on women and women’s issues.
Exclusively employing voiceover and found footage, this documentary powerfully offers an intimate, raw and devastating look a the life of the late artist.
Amy not only revisits and commemorate her incredible artistry but shows the cost of fame, stardom and the perils that come with being a celebrity in the modern era.
The documentary foregrounds Amy Winehouse as an artist and talent gone too soon.
The Hunting Ground
Rape and sexual assault are alarmingly all too common on college campuses.
The Hunting Ground is a documentary that offers an extensive investigation on the systemic issue, interviewing victims of sexual assault, exposing the college administrations’ inaction, the faults of Title IX and unveils the financial incentive colleges have to cover up any reported cases sexual assault that occur on their campuses.
It is a film that should be seen by everyone going to college, who are in college, but really, everyone needs to see this film because misogyny and rape culture are rampant and systemic.
This concise and powerful documentary highlights the historic Supreme Court ruling of Roe Vs Wade which legalized abortion.
Given that the current administration seems hell-bent on regulating and policing women’s bodies, this documentary is an important reminder that our vote matters and how women’s reproductive rights still remain a contentious issue in the United States and of course, the world.
The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson
The Stonewall Uprising in 1969 is widely known as the historical event that catalyzed the LGBT liberation movement. Yet, many are unaware that Marsha P Johnson; a black transgender woman spearheaded the movement.
Queer activists point to Johnson as responsible for igniting the Stonewall riots, specifically citing her as the one to have thrown the first brick.’ The documentary, however, foregrounds Johnson’s grass-roots activism before that historic moment.
The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson is an important contribution in the representation of LGBTQ history — a history that has been whitewashed in other media representations.
Paris is Burning
27 years have passed since Jennie Livingston’s documentary offered viewers an intimate look at the Harlem drag ball scene of the 1980s in New York City.
Yet, there is still much to be said about Livingston’s documentary given the development of queer theory and the increase in transgender representation in the media.
Paris is Burning explores the notion of passing, termed in the drag world as ‘realness, ‘and uses gender performance and presentation to subvert social norms.
20 Feet from Stardom
While there are countless biographical books, biopics and documentaries on our favorite solo artists and lead singers, 20 Feet from Stardom spotlights the backup singers who have accompanied the big-name acts.
With their stories at the foreground, the documentary offers the much-deserved attention and recognition to backup singers whose identities have occupies a place in the shadows of notable lead singers.
The backup singers, Darlene Love, Jo Lawry, Judith Hill, and Lisa Fischer, cited in the film all offer unabashed first-hand accounts of their experiences and careers. 20 Feet From Stardom is truly riveting to watch.