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Media On a Mission

What to Watch, Read, Listen (and more)

Inspired by our fellow YWCA sisters around the country (and especially at YWCA Greater Lafayette), we’ve compiled this list of Media On a Mission: television shows, films, documentaries, books, podcasts, and playlists that are widely available and aligned with YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

We want to hear from you! Did you watch something on this list? Let us know what you thought, and what conversations it started with those in your household. Share on social using #MediaOnAMission and tag @ywcadayton. Have a favorite that’s not on this list? We’d love to hear it! Send us your favorite movies and more that reflect YWCA’s mission: communications@ywcadayton.org.

Having your story told as a woman, as a person of color, as a lesbian or as a trans person, as any member of any disenfranchised community, it is sadly often still seen as a radical idea.
Kerry Washington, Actor

Mission Moment: In 2018, only 3.3% of films from the six big Hollywood studios were directed by women. Of the top 250 films released, 73% had no female writers.

For the Whole Family

  • Raising Dion –  Nicole, single mother and former professional dancer, is struggling to figure out how to raise her suddenly superhuman son, Dion, all while job-hunting and mourning the death of her husband. (TV-G)
  • Leap – A tale of two orphans; one longs to be a ballerina, the other an inventor. There’s only one city for a pair of dreamers like them: Paris. (PG)
  • A Wrinkle In Time – Years after their father disappears, Meg and her younger brother Charles Wallace cross galaxies on a quest to save him from the heart of darkness. (PG)
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – Inspired by a science book, 13-year-old William Kamkwamba builds a wind turbine to save his Malawian village from famine. Based on a true story. (TV-PG)
  • Dumplin’ – To prove a point about measuring up and fitting in, Texas teen Willowdean Dixon enters a local pageant run by her ex-beauty-queen mother. (PG-13)
  • He Named Me Malala – The story of a teenage Pakistani girl shot for her advocacy of women’s education, her survival, and her continued efforts. (PG-13)
  • What Happened, Miss Simone? – Using never-before-heard recordings, rare archival footage, and her best-known songs, this is the story of legendary singer and activist Nina Simone. (TV-14)
  • Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise – Poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou is celebrated using her own words set over rare photographs and video illustrating her remarkable life. (TV-PG)
  • Ladies First – Born amid poverty, Deepika Kumari rose to become the No. 1 female archer in the world at age 18. (TV-G)
  • Miss Juneteenth – When she was a girl, Turquoise won the Miss Juneteenth pageant – part of her Texas community’s celebration of the African-American holiday – but none of her dreams came true. Now she’s determined that her daughter Kai gain the crown. (Not Yet Rated)

Mature Dramas

  • Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker – The story of C.J. Walker’s rise from poverty to build a beauty empire and become the first female self-made millionaire. Based on a true story. (TV-MA)
  • Moonlight – Acclaimed coming-of-age drama about a young man who grows up poor, Black and gay in a rough Miami neighborhood trying to find his place in the world. (R)
  • Mudbound  – Two Mississippi families — one Black, one white — confront the brutal realities of prejudice, farming, and friendship in a divided World War II era. (R)
  • Gentefied – “A bilingual love letter to Boyle Heights, a Latinx neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles and an epicenter of Mexican-American culture.” ~Vulture (TV-MA)
  • Someone Great – On the heels of a blindsiding breakup, music journalist Jenny braces for a new beginning — and one last adventure with her closest friends. (R)
  • Frances Ha – Determined to make it as a modern dancer in New York, a young woman pursues her unlikely goal with more enthusiasm than natural talent. (R)
  • 13th – Scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African-Americans and the U.S. prison boom. (TV-MA)
  • Miss Representation – Explore how mainstream media’s often-disparaging portrayals of women contribute to the under-representation of females in positions of leadership. (TV-MA)
  • See You Yesterday
  • Maiden
  • Keepers of the Game
  • The Hate U Give
  • Concerning Violence

Dayton Originals (courtesy of Dayton.com and FilmDayton)

  • Alone in the Ghost House
  • American Factory (directed by Julia Reichert, one of our 2020 Women of Influence Honorees)
  • The Avengers (portions of this were filmed in Wilmington with many local crew members)
  • Calamity Jane’s Revenge
  • Carol
  • Goat
  • The Ides of March (portions of this were filmed in Oxford with many Miami Valley-based crew members)
  • Marauders
  • Miles Ahead
  • The Old Man & the Gun
  • Tiger
  • We’re Doing Fine

Mission Moment: Women account for just 27% of those behind the scenes in broadcast TV.

For the Whole Family

  • Brainchild – From germs and emotions to social media and more, host Sahana Srinivasan highlights women in STEM and explains the science of our world in a way that’s refreshingly relatable. (TV-G)
  • One Day at a Time – In a re-imagining of this TV classic, a newly single Latina mother raises her teen daughter and tween son with the “help” of her old-school mom. (TV-PG)
  • Stargirl – Set in Blue Valley, Neb., high schooler Courtney Whitmore finds the glowing staff of her stepdad Pat’s former partner-in-crime — Starman, a deceased member of the Justice Society of America. She takes the rod to become a star-spangled avenger and helps revive the JSA as one of a new crop of young heroes to fight bad guys.
  • Mission Unstoppable with Miranda Cosgrove – This CBS Saturday-morning show showcases female engineers, mathematicians, and astronauts doing all sorts of world-changing things.
  • UNLADYLIKE2020 – From March 4 through August 26, 2020, UNLADYLIKE2020 will be releasing 26 short films and a broadcast hour on PBS American Masters profiling diverse and little-known American women from the turn of the 20th century and contemporary women who follow in their footsteps.
  • Bookmarks – Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices is a new Netflix show that celebrates children’s books written by Black authors, about the Black experience. Each episode features a Black celebrity reading a book in full, including Lupita Nyong’o, Common, and Tiffany Haddish, and is hosted by 15-year-old Marley Dias, the creator of the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign.
  • Emily’s Wonder Lab – Hosted by a female engineer and space expert, this children’s science show focuses on STEAM topics and experiments that kids can do with their parents at home.

Mature Viewers

  • When They See Us (Netflix) – Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they’re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story.
  • Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (PBS) – Author Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, history, America and the human condition.
  • Mae West: Dirty Blonde (Amazon Prime Video) – The first major documentary film to explore West’s life and career as she “climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong” to become a writer, performer, and subversive agitator for social change.
  • Maid (Netflix) – After fleeing an abusive relationship, a young mother finds a job cleaning houses as she fights to provide for her child and build them a better future.
  • Women of the Movement (ABC) – A limited series event based on the true story of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley.

Mission Moment: A survey of American publishing found that it while it is overwhelmingly female, it is also overwhelmingly white, with only 21% of staff across the country identifying as Asian, Hispanic, or Black.

For the Whole Family

  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is now available for children in Montgomery and Preble counties! This is a free program that sends your child (from birth to age 5) a new book each month. Low-income children are more than four times less likely to enter kindergarten with school-ready reading and language skills than their higher income peers. Enroll now.
  • Check out the book recommendations from University of Dayton Women’s Center and The Conscious Connect’s Voices of Courage book donation drive (which benefits YWCA Dayton’s domestic violence shelter libraries). Their goal is to collect books focusing on women in STEM, historical figures and strong women role models, and books that highlight dealing with trauma in a positive manner, all with an emphasis on racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o – A deeply moving tale of a young, dark-skinned girl finding beauty within.
  • Raising Worry-Free Girls: Helping Your Daughter Feel Braver, Stronger, and Smarter in an Anxious World by Sissy Goff
  • Noisemakers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World from Kazoo Magazine. This girl-power magazine issued this special publication to teach kids about strong historical women in an eye-catching comic book format. “Girls deserve to be the heroes of their own stories,” says Erin Bried, editor in chief. “But boys also need to know that women are, and have always been, powerful.”
  • Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
  • All Because You Matter by Tami Charles
  • Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons
  • The Magnificent Mya Tibbs by Crystal Allen
  • The World Needs More Purple People by Benjamin Hart and Kristen Bell
  • What’s the Difference? by Doyin Richards
  • Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard
  • Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
  • We March by Shane W. Evans
  • The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • Can I Touch Your Hair? by Irene Latham and Charles Waters
  • Woke by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood
  • A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée
  • For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama J. Lockington
  • Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Renée Watson
  • Voice of Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
  • This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell
  • I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

  • Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Redd
  • This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges – Sixty years after she made history integrating an all-white school in New Orleans at the age of 6, Bridges looks back and offers guidance to “my young people.”
  • My Rainbow by DeShanna and Trinity Neal – A picture book inspired by their real-life experience as Trinity, who is transgender, decides she wants long hair and her mom creates a beautiful rainbow-colored wig for her to wear.
  • Natalie Portman’s Fables – The Oscar-winning actress flipped the script by replacing well-known male characters, like the Tortoise and the Hare, with female versions.
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Girl Rising – Changing the World One Girl at a Time by Tanya Lee Stone
  • Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan
  • Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi
  • Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Me and My Afro by Aiden M. Taylor
  • The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson
  • Kazoo, a quarterly magazine that profiles legendary women, illustrating them as young girls so readers can easily see all they can become.
  • I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick, which explores adoption, race, identity, and self-love in ways young kids can understand.

Mature Reads

  • There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America by Alex Kotlowitz
  • Not that Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxanne Gay
  • We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Successful Women Think Differently: 9 Habits to Make You Happier, Healthier, and More Resilient by Valorie Burton
  • Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice & Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, Ph.D.
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey

  • Say Her Name and A Place Inside of Me by Zetta Elliott
  • This Is My America by Kim Johnson
  • Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Fatal Invention by Dorothy Roberts
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
  • Blindspot by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald
  • White Rage by Carol Anderson
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
  • You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar
  • This Is The Fire: What I Say To My Friends About Racism by Don Lemon
  • Care Free Black Girls by Zeba Blay
  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
  • The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights by Dorothy Wickenden

  • Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow

Dayton Originals

Mission Moment: The iTunes Top 100 podcast chart is dominated by shows featuring white (often male) hosts, even as research shows the share of the podcast audience comprised of non-white listeners is growing fast.

For the Whole Family

  • Becoming Mother Nature
  • Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls
  • How to Be a Girl
  • The Imagine Neighborhood
  • KiDNuZ
  • Storynory
  • Ear Snacks
  • Chompers

Mature Listeners

Dayton Originals

Mission Moment: On Billboard’s annual Hot 100 charts between 2012 and 2018, female representation as artists was just 22%, with 12% as songwriters and only 2% as producers.

For the Whole Family

Mature Listeners

Mission Moment: More than 50 % of YouTube’s audience is female.

TED Talks:

Other Videos: