Sisters on Track has definitely been made with the hope and intention that it will uplift and support the voices of communities of women and girls.
Sisters on Track is a Netflix Original Documentary set in New York City, about a family in Brooklyn trying to reach their dreams. We watch them grow and recover from trauma through love, community support, and their own strength, ability, and achievements.
This film is a beautiful and heartbreaking coming-of-age story about three young athletes Tai, Rainn, and Brooke Sheppard, who excel on their track and field team while living in a homeless shelter with their single mother, Tonia, and how the next stages of their life pan out. The highs and lows of school, training, and personal lives.
What I really loved about this documentary was the female focus and narrative; young black girls in sports. Women in sports, their successes and failures are something young audiences (if not all) need to see. Here we witness the importance of empowering youth, communities, friendships, family, building confidence in young adults as they grow and learn and develop. As well as the need for care and support for single mothers and racial and economic justice. This documentary has it all.
Sisters on Track isn’t about getting out of the shelter and its hardships (this is simply one chapter in their lives). The film is instead about what they do after and who really helps them along the way. The story isn’t about money, fame, or fortune; it’s about giving back to the community who were there for them. It’s about making sure future athletes know fame isn’t enough to guarantee them a spot — grades and behavior are.
As the documentary continues, we’re constantly watching and learning about each person, their faults, weaknesses as well as their potential, and their strengths. Going through this journey with them, we can see who and what has shaped these girls. We learn that, as a family, they have lost their father/husband and brother/son and how this has affected them and is still affecting them. Something is compelling about watching a strong woman, raising strong women, as a female viewer. The strongest influence of them all, in my opinion, is the coach. If I could meet her, I would shake her hand and say thank you. Everyone needs a Coach Jean in their life. She is real, fierce, and comes from a place of love and desire for your best interests, which is the best kind of tough love.
What also stands out in this documentary is the social, economic factors. In the United States, getting a good education (for free) is the answer to help underprivileged kids break through and change their lives and their circumstances. Getting that scholarship is more important than being in the Olympics. More important than the medals. The fact that without a scholarship, it doesn’t matter how talented they are; without it, these girls won’t have a decent future to look forward to. This is quite heart-breaking. Especially after the recent scandal of elite celebrities buying their children into universities on scholarships — it’s actually taking that opportunity away from children like these.
Netflix’s Sisters on Track has definitely been made with the hope and intention that it will uplift and support the voices of communities of women and girls, and I certainly hope it does. I was inspired, informed, and incredibly humbled by the documentary. Not ashamed to say, I teared up a bit.
What did you think of Netflix documentary Sisters on Track? Comment below!
If you liked this documentary, we would recommend that you watch Cheer, a Netflix documentary series.