The Black List: Vol. 2

  • Review Date: February 23, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 60 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Insightful docu is as informative, inspiring as the first.
  • Review Date: February 23, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 60 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Positive message about racial awareness, empowerment, and the strength of your community. Topics like stereotyping, racial discrimination, and community activism are also discussed.

Positive role models

Most of the featured interviewees are high achievers in the arts or other realms, making them positive role models for teens who tune in.


A few pictures of activist Angela Davis getting carried away in handcuffs and being featured on the FBI's "Most Wanted" lists in the 1970s. Some discussions about gang violence.


Mild references to womanizing.


Language includes racial epithets like the "N" word, but these are mostly offered within the context of personal stories. Other words include "hell," "s--t," and "f--k."


Some of the interviewees briefly discuss works that they've written, produced, and/or performed over the years, but it's not in the context of promotion.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some photographs show artists/performers smoking cigarettes. Some discussions about living in areas where drug violence was/is frequent -- but these stories are offered within the context of explaining what some interviewees had to overcome.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this insightful documentary continues the exploration and celebration of the black experience in the United States begun in The Black List: Vol. 1. Like the first film, it offers positive messages about racial awareness and community but also touches on some strong issues -- including discrimination and AIDS. Some interviewees use strong language, including the "N" word and curses like "s--t" and "f--k".

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What's the story?

THE BLACK LIST: VOL. 2 is the second installment in the "The Black List Project" documentary series, which collects first-hand narratives about the African-American experience. The film features excerpts from 15 interviews with a diverse ensemble of notable African Americans, including Saturday Night Live sketch comedienne Maya Rudolph, actor/director Laurence Fishburne, country music singer Charley Pride, Anglican Bishop Barbara C. Harris, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Each of their stories offers insight into how they make sense of being a black person in America -- and about how their own unique cultural identity has shaped them into who and what they are today.

Is it any good?


Vol. 2's impact may be somewhat lessened by its now-predictable format, but the stories it has to tell are no less significant. These narratives give viewers the chance to better understand the power that comes with being racially aware -- as well as highlight how this awareness can positively impact the way people view themselves in society.

Like its predecessor, Vol. 2 introduces viewers to some of America's preeminent African-American educators, activists, artists, and leaders. It also draws attention to the diversity of thought, experience, and point of view within the African-American community. Ultimately, the film beautifully reflects the mission of The Black List Project: to document experiences that will continue to help us redefine race and its role in American society.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about "The Black List" that inspired the movie. Who else do you think should be added to this list? Why?

  • Families can also discuss the African-American experience in the United

  • States. What can African Americans' history in this country teach us?

  • What lessons can the history of other racial and ethnic groups in

  • America offer?

  • How can the media be used to teach more about these

  • issues?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 26, 2009
DVD release date:October 13, 2009
Cast:Laurence Fishburne, Maya Rudolph, Tyler Perry
Director:Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Studio:Indican Pictures
Run time:60 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Black List: Vol. 2 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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