Right now, social media is flooded with shows of support for the Black community as they process yet another trauma that has occurred as the result of police brutality. While speaking out online is important, it is the work we do in our daily lives that will make the real difference, and that begins with education about Black history, systematic racism, and white supremacy.
Although the U.S. is the centre point for the anti-racist protests happening right now, and people in the UK must do all they can to support what is happening there, it's also crucial to look at this country's track record.
If documentaries are your preferred method of learning, the works listed below are a starting point for continued education on anti-Blackness in the UK, Black British life, and UK Black history. Also included are two documentaries that look at the UK's racism problem with a wider lens. For those interested in going beyond this list, the BFI website has a number of films and documentaries to rent or watch for free on its Black Britain On Film and Black British Filmmaking pages.
Anti-Blackness In Modern Britain
These works offer insight into what anti-Blackness looks like in modern-day Britain and the way in which those behaviours are being perpetuated.
- Black Sheep (The Guardian)
- That Black British Feeling (BBC Newsbeat)
- Will Britain Ever Have a Black Prime Minister? (BBC Two, no longer available in full, see clips here)
- Sticks and Stones (Channel 4)
- Black Is A Dirty Word (Audio, BBC 1 Xtra, now available on The Playmaker Group Soundcloud)
- The Hard Stop (BFI)
- Justice For Joy (Channel 4)
Black British Life
A look at what life is like as a Black British person today.
- Making Waves (available on YouTube)
- Black Is The New Black (BBC Two, no longer available in full, see clips here)
- Black and Scottish (BBC)
- The Black Lesbian Handbook (Channel 4)
- Ghetto Britain: 30 Years Of Race (Channel 4)
These documentaries highlight the ways in which Black history has shaped and enriched Britain, touching everything from sport to music to LGBTQ culture.
- Forbidden Games: The Justin Fashanu Story (Netflix UK)
- Black & British: A Forgotten History (BBC Two, no longer available in full, see clips here)
- Black to Life: Rethinking The Black Presence Within British History (BBC, no longer available in full, see clips here)
- Riots & Rumours of Riots (BFI)
- Britain’s Black Past (Audio, BBC Sounds)
- British’s Music Caribbean Roots (Audio, BBC World Service)
- Black Music In Europe: 1910-1920 (Audio, BBC World Service)
- The Homecoming: A Short Film About Ajamu (BFI)
- Street 66 (Vimeo)
- Unremembered – Britain's Forgotten War Heroes (Channel 4)
The Windrush Scandal
As one of the most shameful episodes in modern British history, the Windrush Scandal is something all Brits need to know about. These documentaries tells the stories of the Windrush generation and analyses how and why the scandal took place.
- The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files (BBC Two, no longer available in full, see clips here)
- Britain’s Windrush Veterans: The Battle To Be British (Channel 4)
- From Slavery To Windrush: My Family's Story (BBC News)
- After The Windrush Betrayal (The Guardian)
- Windrush Generation: The Scandal That Shook Britain Explained & Debated (Channel 4)
- The Stories Of The Windrush Veterans (Channel 4)
Extended Essays & Talks
Black creators, writers, journalists, and activists speak first-hand about their experiences of and insights about anti-Blackness in the UK.
- Benjamin Zephaniah On Windrush, Anarchism & His Time In North Korea (from ‘Ways To Change The World’ podcast by Channel 4)
- Hiding My Identity by Ray BLK (TEDx talks on YouTube)
- The Myth Of Escaping The Ghetto by Yinka Bokinni (TEDx talks on YouTube)
- The Failures Of Multiculturalism by Shaun Flores (TEDx talks on YouTube)
- Far From Home; My Mother's Lesson by Simon Frederick (TEDx talks on YouTube)
- Roadman Or Man On The Road by Caleb Femi (TEDx talks on YouTube)
- Lessons From A Father by Richard Taylor (TEDx talks on YouTube)
- Finding Truth In My Roots by Maleek Berry (TEDx talks on YouTube)
Racism In Modern Britain
These documentaries help viewers to understand how anti-Blackness operates within a framework of systematic racism and white supremacy within the UK.
- Britain’s Everyday Extremism (VICE from Hate Thy Neighbour series)
- Is Britain Racist? (BBC Three, no longer available in full, see clips here)
Contributions from Alice Broster, Sophie McEvoy & Sam Ramsden.