I Am Not Your Negro

Movie review by Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
I Am Not Your Negro Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 13+

Powerful documentary explores race, art, and activism.

PG-13 2017 95 minutes

Parents say

age 16+

Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+

Based on 1 review

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for and .

Community Reviews

age 14+

Necessary if tough viewing

The things that make I Am Not Your Negro tough to watch (in particular images of violence inflicted on Black people throughout the periods the film covers) are things that are necessary for people to know about. I think that the film is suitable for teenagers to watch by themselves (and have watched part of the film with my 11 year old niece), but that you get the most out of it watching in a group setting (in class or with your family) for discussion purposes. One of the events the documentary covers is the racist bombing of a church that killed four little girls. I think a child the same age as those poor girls should be able to watch this documentary because of how it shows that systemic, VIOLENT, anti-Black racism didn't care about protecting innocent children - because to them, Black children weren't innocent. I've worked in education and I have experience working with teens and young adults on similar material and I think that if you're not sure if your teen can watch this documentary on their own: watch it with them. Do your homework so you can answer their questions and then sit with them so you can learn together. There ARE images of lynching that are upsetting to see in maybe the last third of the film and that may upset smaller and/or sensitive children, but I do think that hiding the reality of what people have been/are like (as lynchings have occurred as recently as last year) is doing a disservice to your kids and to the history that Black people in the US have survived.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 16+

Not for kids:Very Important movie, perspective changing but intense at times

James Baldwin was a brilliant, poetic, visionary, activist and this movie captures his important perspectives on the racism/humanity question. It inspires, , makes you question and will make you angry. It should be seen by everyone but there are many historical news clips and images that viewers will find disturbing--lynchings, race riots, beatings, and other forms of violence. Parts are too graphic for children and while I think it would be so valuable for young adults to become familiar with James Baldwin it's hard for me to recommend for anyone under 18. Perhaps 16 and up for very mature kids with prior exposure to historical imagery.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

  • 13th Poster Image

    13th

    Searing docu decries racial bias; intense violence, cursing.

    age 16+
  • Eyes on the Prize Poster Image

    Eyes on the Prize

    Award-winning history of the American Civil Rights movement.

    age 14+
  • Malcolm X Poster Image

    Malcolm X

    Insightful and well-rounded portrait of Malcolm X.

    age 13+
  • Selma Poster Image

    Selma

    Outstanding drama about MLK's fight for equal rights.

    age 13+

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

  • Young girl staring at her dad
    Empathy
    See all
  • Child cross country skiing
    Perseverance
    See all

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Click to see more titles about activism
    Activism
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a map and jug
    History
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate