As protests against police brutality and anti-blackness continue, some companies in Hollywood are making a public effort to honor Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of when enslaved people in Texas received the news of their emancipation in 1865. Networks and studios, from HBO to Warner Bros., announced they are offering free or special programming highlighting stories by black artists and/or about black characters.

Here is a guide to the Juneteenth programming available on television and streaming platforms.

– HBO is lifting the paywall on ‘Watchmen’

Those who haven’t yet seen Damon Lindelof’s Peabody-winning take on “Watchmen” have the chance to do so through Sunday, when it streams free on HBO’s website and on-demand. The network will also carry a marathon of the nine-episode series on HBO and HBO Latino beginning Friday at 1 p.m.

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This image released by HBO shows Regina King in a scene from “Watchmen.” Mark Hill/HBO via AP

“Watchmen,” set in an alternative reality roughly 35 years after the events of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s graphic novel, explores how systemic racism persists in American society – and within the criminal justice system in particular, which might feel even more relevant today. Regina King stars as Angela Abar, a former Tulsa police officer who is a masked vigilante by night. The Washington Post’s David Betancourt referred to the show as “the boldest, blackest superhero story ever told on-screen.”

– Warner Bros. continues to offer ‘Just Mercy’ free

Warner Bros. began the year with “Just Mercy,” which stars Michael B. Jordan as Bryan Stevenson, a real-life lawyer who, as in the events depicted, defended Walter “Johnny D.” McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man imprisoned in Alabama for a murder he didn’t commit. The studio made the film free to rent on multiple platforms – including Amazon, YouTube and Google Play – through the end of June.

“Just Mercy” follows Stevenson, who went on to become a major figure in criminal justice reform, as he embeds himself in Monroeville, Ala., to better understand the system that entrapped Johnny D. It also offers a nuanced depiction of Johnny D.’s community, as well as the lives of other prisoners. The Post’s Ann Hornaday stated in her 3.5-star review that the film, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (“Short Term 12”), “keeps its emotions on a low simmer, its absorbing, tautly designed drama finally coming to a climax that is satisfying on one level, and absolutely shattering on another.”

“From its smooth visuals and warm, swinging sounds to its magnificent performances,” she wrote, ” ‘Just Mercy’ is masterfully constructed to keep us inside a story that otherwise would be too brutal to bear.”

– Netflix and Hulu are highlighting black storytelling

While it is not specific to Juneteenth, Netflix users might notice a new “Black Lives Matter” genre appearing on the website. The company created this section as its peers began to issue statements on ongoing protests. The official account tweeted, “When we say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ we also mean ‘Black storytelling matters.’ With an understanding that our commitment to true, systemic change will take time – we’re starting by highlighting powerful and complex narratives about the Black experience.”

Hulu has similarly added a “Black Stories” genre to the platform.


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