February 19, 2019

Screen Time: Week of February 18

From Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown's "United Skates," which airs on HBO and streams on HBO Go and HBO Now. Photo: Christopher Vanderwall/HBO

Screen Time is your curated weekly guide to excellent documentaries and nonfiction programs that you can watch at home.

From executive producer John Legend and first-time directors Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown, United Skates travels to cities around the country to capture the dynamic world of roller skating and underscore how it’s such an intrinsic and indelible part of African-American culture. United Skates premieres February 18 on HBO and will stream on HBO Go and HBO Now through February

Minding the Gap, the Oscar-nominated and IDA Award-winning film from Bing Liu , premieres February 18 on POV. What begins as a coming-of-age tale catalyzed by a shared passion for skateboarding deepens into a reckoning among Liu and his friends with their abuse-riven childhood and their difficult passage into manhood. Minding the Gap runs on the POV website through February.

Premiering February 19 on American Masters is Sam Pollard’s Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, which tells the story of the legendary entertainer and his quest for identity amid the dramatic shifts of the Civil Rights Movement, artistic relevance despite increasingly outdated show business traditions, and respect in the face of the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America.

Shudder, AMC streaming platform, is currently showing Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror, which traces the origin, evolution and identity of African Americans on screen and behind the scenes, from the birth of cinema to Get Out. Horror Noire is directed by Xavier Burgin, executive-produced by Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman, Tananarive Due, Phil Nobile Jr and Kelly Ryan, and is produced and co-written by Ashlee Blackwell and Danielle Burrows.

Streaming on Kanopy is Black Is...Black Ain’t, the final film from Marlon Riggs, which documents the ever-explosive debate over Black identity--especially the rigid definitions of “Blackness” that African-Americans impose on each other. In this 1994 film, Riggs challenges viewers to ask, Is there an essential Black identity? Is there a litmus test defining the real Black man and true Black woman?

Shola Lynch’s Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, available on Amazon Prime, tells the story of activist/college professor Angela Davis, whi, in the early 1970s, was implicated in a botched kidnapping and mass shooting. She went undercover and on the run, landing on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Her subsequent trial resulted in an acquittal.

 

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