If you're looking for a deeper understanding of Black Lives Matter and the tension in America at the moment, try this list of TV shows, films and documentaries on the black experience. Some are heartbreaking and enraging, others are funny and weird. None of them covers all the bases. But all of them are a good place to start.

TV Shows:

Random Acts of Flyness (Neon)

A weird and wonderful stream-of-consciousness series that blends animation, skits, documentary pieces, sci-fi, visual art and more for a take on culture and racism you never see coming.

Atlanta (Netflix)

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Lakeith Stanfield and Donald Glover in Atlanta. Photo / Supplied
Lakeith Stanfield and Donald Glover in Atlanta. Photo / Supplied

Donald Glover's Emmy-winning take on blackness and celebrity culture in America gets serious, but also has alligators, a black Justin Bieber and even - disturbingly - Glover in white face. Easily one of the best shows from the past five years.

Little Fires Everywhere (Amazon Prime Video)

Kerry Washington plays Mia in the TV adaptation of Celeste Ng's 2017 book Little Fires Everywhere. Photo / Supplied
Kerry Washington plays Mia in the TV adaptation of Celeste Ng's 2017 book Little Fires Everywhere. Photo / Supplied

A struggling black solo mum and the matriarch of a wealthy white family clash over a legal case where a white family is trying to adopt a Chinese baby. It's a brilliantly uncomfortable look at white privilege, racism, white saviours and womanhood.

When They See Us (Netflix)

The highly acclaimed docu-series on The Exonerated Five - five black men who, as children, were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for the rape and murder of a white woman. It's a challenging, maddening exploration of racism in the justice system.

Queen Sugar (TVNZ OnDemand)

Queen Sugar. Photo / Supplied
Queen Sugar. Photo / Supplied

A drama that explores the black experience of three siblings: Ralph Angel, a single dad fresh out of prison; Charley, the high-society wife of a basketball star; and Nova, the outspoken artist and activist. Easily one of the most underrated shows ever.

Strong Island (Netflix)

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An Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated true-crime documentary by Yance Ford about the murder of his brother William, and their family's quest for justice after an all-white jury failed to indict William's white killer.

Noughts & Crosses (TVNZ OnDemand)

Noughts & Crosses. Photo Supplied
Noughts & Crosses. Photo Supplied

Based in an alternate universe where Africans colonised Europeans, white people are entirely submissive to people of colour. Sure it's on the nose but, as a result, it's an easy-to-comprehend exploration of race relations and privilege.

MOVIES:

13th (Netflix)

Ava DuVernay's 13th is mandatory viewing as an exploration of how slavery was replaced with the mass incarceration of black people, and how the system was designed to ensure black people always stayed on the back foot in society.

Selma (Apple TV)

David Oyelowo plays Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. Photo / Supplied
David Oyelowo plays Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. Photo / Supplied

Also by DuVernay, Selma is a historical drama about the black civil rights movement in Selma and, in particular, Dr Martin Luther King's 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, which was met by police violence not dissimilar to what we're seeing today.

If Beale Street Could Talk (Neon, Google Play)

A scene from If Beale Street Could Talk, starring Kiki Layne and Stephan James. Photo / Supplied
A scene from If Beale Street Could Talk, starring Kiki Layne and Stephan James. Photo / Supplied

A beautiful and heartbreaking love story in which a woman tries to free her wrongly-charged lover from prison before their baby is born.

I Am Not Your Negro (docplay.com, Apple TV)

A documentary based on the works of activist and author James Baldwin, exploring the black civil rights movement and connecting it to today's Black Lives Matter movement.

The Hate U Give (Neon, YouTube Movies, Google Play)

A black teen becomes swept up in a national movement after her friend is killed by a cop right in front of her. Based on the book by Angie Thomas, the film follows a young woman's painful journey to Black Lives Matter activism.

Just Mercy (Lightbox)

Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy. Photo / Supplied
Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy. Photo / Supplied

The true story of Walter McMillian, a black man wrongly convicted for the murder of a white woman. He served six years on death row before his conviction, which was obtained through police perjury and coercion, was overturned.

Whose Streets?

A short, 40-minute doco on the killing of Michael Brown and the resulting Ferguson uprising and protests. With prominent activists and real footage from the frontlines, it provides an intimate look at the stories behind the headlines.

Get Out (Google Play)

Jordan Peele's award-winning masterpiece explores slavery, white privilege, cultural appropriation, and how white spaces can feel wildly unsafe for black people - all told through a bonkers horror lens involving hypnotism, brain transplants and body-swapping.

Sorry to Bother You (Neon)

A comedy-drama about a black telemarketer who finds financial success by using his "white voice", but as he climbs the ranks he realises he's being asked to sell his soul - and culture - to be successful in a white space. While it explores the link between capitalism and racism, it's also about as nuts as many others on this list - did I mention the human-horse hybrids?