Netflix has released the anticipated series Race: Bubba Wallace where, in this six-part project, Wallace voices his opinion on what it’s like to be black in America.
Netflix Docuseries Race: Bubba Wallace was released on the streaming service on February 22, 2022.
Directed and executive produced by Erik Parker, (L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later), we get an insight at Wallace during various NASCAR Cup Series seasons, his first with Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s 23XI Racing, from his rise to the elite ranks of NASCAR as the only full-time Black driver and the aftermath following his decision to speak out about racial injustice. This series is a powerful, engaging, exciting, and eye-opening watch that I highly recommend.
Whilst this series is about the racing success of Wallace, it is highly surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, and what it is like being a black man in America. We get an insight into how Wallace and his friends and family have dealt with racial profiling and how and why Wallace decided to speak up and out about the racism in America. We have interviews with Wallace’s friends, family, and peers discussing how everything came to a screeching halt because of Covid-19 and the rise of Black Lives Matter and their thoughts, opinions and hopes.
NASCAR is associated with the south, and a type of southerner, so Wallace is a pressured athlete defying odds and expectations. There have only been 4 black drivers since the 1960’s to rise to the top level of NASCAR, so Wallace is in a powerful, yet uncertain place and the actions off the racetrack have just as much impact as the ones on the track. Sports around the world try to avoid politics, and whilst Wallace’s voice and opinions are incredibly important and powerful, they could be his downfall as the fans don’t appreciate and want politics in sport.
Wallace got NASCAR to ban the confederate flag, which is being on the right side of history, and the backlash is outstanding. What I loved most about this series is that instead of having a series about celebrities showing off their wealth and their success and their struggles, we have someone showing how they used their platform to support cases that they believe in. This series showcases stories that we need to hear and see to be able to progress and move forward in nations, in sports, and in society.
With beautiful cinematography, soft music, kind lighting in the interviews, this series as a package is great to watch. Racing footage, social media footage, television media footage, this series is packed with information and is very well detailed. Fascinating learning about the black history of the sport, especially the first black driver to ever win NASCAR being denied the trophy, due to fear of riots, and the winner gets to kiss a white woman, and this was frowned upon.
Wallace is admirable, representing a whole race in one sport must be immense pressure. Becoming known internationally for a sport that not a lot of people know internationally and handling himself with such professionalism and poise, he and everyone who knows him should be proud. “All Bubba wants to do is race, drive and win” quote from his mother, and it should be as simple as that. We see how this pressure affects Wallace and the trials he has faced personally and professionally.
Incredibly eye-opening, from the first episode, I felt the powerful message of this series, I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat looking at the clips from interviews Wallace has done. As someone completely new to this sport, and to Wallace himself, this documentary is detailed in explaining the sport, how it works, and the work and pressure surrounding the sport. Wallace is open, honest, and a delight to watch. I was hooked within the first 2 minutes. I highly recommend this series to watch.
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