Celebrating Black History Month Through Cinema

Black History Month data viz in Tableau

A few weeks ago, I saw If Beale Street Could Talk and experienced yet another representation of the way injustice persists in our society. The film is beautiful and tragic, showcasing a love story simultaneously strained and strengthened by our criminal justice system. Walking out of the film, I certainly felt sadness, but the overwhelming feeling was compassion—compassion for people whose struggles I can relate to in some ways and will never be able to relate to in other ways.

Celebrating Black History Month with a Data Viz

In light of the power that film has to evoke compassion and empathy, I pulled up a 2018 story from The New York Times with the intention of revisiting the dataset so that we can celebrate Black History Month and continue to harness the power of film to help us understand other people’s experiences. These 29 films bring us closer to what the black experience in American cinema has been throughout the 20th century. This is by no means a comprehensive, or even unified, view of what it means to be black in American cinema, and the diversity of films even highlights the complexity of the black experience in cinema.

Pursuing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

As we move through our own journey toward diversity, inclusion and equity at InterWorks, understanding other people’s experiences has been paramount in recognizing where we need to focus our energy. So let this list give you an opportunity to celebrate and engage with just a few subsets of other people’s experiences. Maybe you relate to the experiences in the films or maybe you don’t, but hopefully it’s an opportunity for you see the world through someone else’s eyes, no matter what experience you’re bringing to the theater.

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