There’s something uplifting about And She Could Be Next, the PBS documentary, which boasts Ava Duvernay among its Executive Producers, and focuses on women of color in politics. Maybe it’s the idea that, in some not so far away future, things could actually be different. Maybe it’s the women featured. Maybe it’s both.
Or maybe it’s simply that in the current political climate, even a tiny bit of hope feels like a lot.
Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia are the minds behind this documentary – which boasts a creative team entirely composed of women of color. The documentary is the first miniseries produced under the POV banner, and considering what we got to see, we’re looking forward to what they’ll give us next.
Especially considering how very little we normally hear about these stories.
In fact, the first part of the documentary could almost be a sequel to last year’s Netflix documentary Knock Down The House, which featured, among other women, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It’s inspiring, and uplifting in a way few things in politics are these days, and it’s sure to leave you with a desire to get out there and do more, in whatever way you can manage.
However, it’s important to note that the documentary – just like Knock Down The House – is not really trying to be impartial. The filmmakers focused on women they were clearly inspired by, and since this is told in a compelling manner, chances are that if your political beliefs align, you will also be inspired by them. They could have, of course, attempted to feature some Republican women of color, even if there are way less of them, but that wasn’t the intention, and I respect that.
In fact, in this current political climate, I agree with it. I don’t want to celebrate women that support policies that disenfranchise me, or policies that reduce people like me to the worst stereotype.
And I don’t really want to watch entertainment that does.
The second part of the documentary is even more interesting, if less inspiring. There’s a part of me that, watching this, felt like they could have stretched out the first part over two episodes, and made an entirely different documentary out of what ended up being part two, and we would have all been better served, but I do understand how the hook of the first part is the thing that makes you watch the second one.
“Claiming Power,” the second part, focuses on the electoral process, the need for voting and registration campaign, as well as the dangers of voter suppression. It also does a good job at examining, in ways we rarely get to hear about, the modernization of the disenfranchisement tactics and the impact they end up having not just in the electoral process, but in the shaping of the politics that affect every person in the United States, and in some ways, the world.
All in all, this is the perfect documentary for these few months before a general election, even if the candidates shown are not up for election. It might inspire you to look up other women of color you can support, or even better, inspire you to be that woman in the future. But if nothing else, it will at least show you the possibilities, and educate you a little while it does.
I’m counting that one as a win.
And She Could Be Next is now available at pbs.org/pov/shecouldbenext and andshecouldbenext.com
SYNOPSIS: In a polarized America, where the dual forces of white supremacy and patriarchy threaten to further erode our democracy, a game-changing transformation is happening at the grassroots. As demographics shift toward a non-white majority, elections will be decided by Americans inspired to vote for the first time. Many of these voters, who are often black, brown, immigrant or poor, are ignored by politicians and journalists alike. And She Could Be Next, a two-part documentary series directed by Peabody Award-winner Grace Lee (American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs) and Iranian documentary filmmaker Marjan Safinia (Seeds), tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color who are transforming American politics from the ground up.
Featuring: Stacey Abrams (Georgia), Bushra Amiwala (Skokie, IL), Maria Elena Durazo (Los Angeles, CA), Veronica Escobar (El Paso, TX), Lucy McBath (Atlanta, GA), Rashida Tlaib (Detroit, MI) and Nse Ufot, Executive Director of the New Georgia Project.