This article was originally written in 2015 after the initial Black Lives Matter protest movement had died down. It has not been updated to include a discussion of the current wave of protests and riots. However, there are some insights in this piece that have a bearing on this moment and we believe that this
Five years since the movement for black lives kicked off, all of us are reflecting on our collective history and arriving at partial conclusions. Some of these conclusions take the form of film, hip hop, poetry, literature, murals and visual art. We believe popular culture is a reflection of the material conditions around (and within) us––a form of theory making and a method for understanding our world. 2018 gave us several films that echoed BLM, by making explicit its contradictions and tendencies. At the risk of oversimplifying, we can divide the best of these films into two categories: liberal and revolutionary. Each mirrors a material tendency that emerged within BLM.