Strong Island came out on Netflix sometime in 2017 and honestly, I never noticed it. I never would have noticed it unless it was nominated for an Oscar.
This one was a big surprise to me that it was nominated, as I expected a few other bigger titles in the documentary world to get praise. Netflix is no new girl to the Oscar world when it comes to documentaries, as I feel they have gotten 2 or so the last few years. Documentaries can really thrive in the Netflix world.
But still, I never would have even heard of it without this sudden announcement, which beings my surprise. About a murder, a small murder that only affects the family involved. No one famous, no big news articles, nothing. However, it obviously affected those in the family a shit ton. It basically destroyed their family at the injustice they found in the criminal justice system. In their neighbors, in their community, and in all of America.
Yes, time for you to get some sad feels.
Yance Ford‘s older brother was murdered outside of their home, due to an argument between their family and an auto shop. An accident occurred, it was not the Ford’s fault, and the other family offered to fix up the car for free as long as it was not reported to the authorities.
The auto shop took a long, long time though. It started to anger people, it started to piss them off. The auto shop was a white family, and the Ford family was black, new to the Long Island community in one of their newly built black areas, for fake diversity.
And the white man took a shot at Yance’s brother, as a threat to his life, killing him. The cops didn’t arrest him on the spot, they said it would have to go to trial, and the family had to wait for the trial to come. Just waiting. No way they would be ignored. Except first a grand jury had to indict, and the grand jury did not indict the culprit, not enough evidence, thinking it was self defense, blah blah blah. And you know they were white.
This is Ford’s journey, decades later, trying to get to the bottom of it. Trying to talk to the prosecutors, the legal team, find out what the hell happened, why they called it self defense, what lies were told to let her brother’s murderer go free.
And just how her family felt about the whole thing.
Strong Island is a powerful and a personal story. It is one that takes awhile to really kick off, but ends with tears. It is just one of the many stories out there about injustice against black families across the year that are ignored and swept under the rug because racism totally ended in the 1960’s.
It is the type of documentary one should be able to watch and realize that if it happened to this one, technically insignificant family, it had to have happened to a lot more just because they could get away with it.
These are the stories that need to come out for people to realize just how little has progressed over they ears, and I can both hope that more of these do come out, and also wish that they don’t because I can’t imagine that amount of injustice.
3 out of 4.