The Black List: Vol. 3

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Black List: Vol. 3 TV Poster Image
Third docu in series is candid, colorful, and powerful.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series celebrates the achievements of African Americans and puts these accomplishments within the context of the racism that many of the interviewees experienced at the personal, professional, and institutional level. Themes include integrity and perseverance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Every person featured is a product of African-American mentorship and serves as mentors for African Americans today.


Some very mild references to racial violence.


Some interviewees discuss homosexuality, AIDS, and related issues and their impact on the African-American community.


Words like “piss,” “s--t,” and f--k” are occasionally used (and not bleeped). The epithet “coon” comes up, but within the context of reclaiming the term.


A quick verbal reference to Reebok sneakers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Personal stories include memories of people smoking. One photograph features an actor holding a cigarette.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Black List: Vol. 3 is the third installment in this inspirational documentary project -- which profiles and celebrates iconic African Americans -- offers positive and constructive messages about the black experience in the United States. It also touches on some strong issues -- like racial discrimination, homosexuality, and AIDS. There's some occasional unbleeped profanity (including “piss,” “s--t,” and “f--k”), and some verbal and visual references to smoking. The epithet "coon" is heard, but it's used within the context of understanding and reclaiming its meaning for the African-American community.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 2-year-old Written byBen P February 12, 2010

Language better than the first two.

There are a few F-bombs in this documentary. However, there are no N-words, unlike the previous two documentaries. That being said, I think the language is mi... Continue reading

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What's the story?

THE BLACK LIST: VOL. 3 is the next installment in “The Black List Project,” a series of documentaries that collects and preserves the oral histories of prominent African-American achievers. Interviews with model/entrepreneur Beverly Johnson, singer John Legend, Precious director Lee Daniels, United Negro College Fund president Michael Lomax, BET CEO Debra L. Lee, and actors Hill Harper, LaTanya Richardson, and Whoopi Goldberg offer powerful personal insights into what it means to be black in America today. The film also explores the various ways that these prominent members of the African-American community have overcome obstacles to achieve their goals and calls attention to some of the mentors that helped them get there.

Is it any good?

The candid, colorful, and deeply personal stories shared here highlight the various ways that race has shaped the African-American community -- and how it has contributed to some of its members’ personal and professional successes. It also offers a chance to listen to some of the various ways that African Americans interpret the personal journeys that got them to where they are today.

The Black List: Vol. 3 is shorter than its predecessors, but it still captures the power and significance of every story. Like the other two volumes, the documentary pays homage to the overall African-American experience by documenting and preserving its unique cultural identity for future generations for all racial and ethnic backgrounds to learn from and enjoy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about "The Black List" that inspired the movie. What is it about the people on this list and their histories that make them inspirational? Who else do you think should be added to this list? Why?

  • How do these portraits counteract stereotypes about African Americans?

  • What exactly are oral histories? What can we learn from other people’s life experiences? If you were asked to share your life story, what kinds of things would you talk about? What are some ways the media is being used to record and document people’s oral histories from around the world?

  • How does The Black List: Vol. 3 promote integrity and perseverance? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love learning about cultures

Character Strengths

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