Black Power Mixtape Vol. 2

Last Friday, I went to see the Black Power Mixtape and I must say it is a very powerful film. It gives a fresh perspective on the Black Power movement from 1967 to 1975, especially because it is through the eyes of Swedish journalists, who are somewhat removed from the events happening in the United States at that time. This is a warning: here are a few spoilers:

1) Talib Kweli speaking on how he was taken into custody because he was listening to Stokely Carmichael speeches showed how even 40 years later, his words are still relevant.

2) John Forte speaking about how the prison system dehumanizes prisoners, his love of Angela Davis’ work “Are Prison’s Obsolete,” and relating his experience in prison to the Attica uprising.

3) The video clip of Angela Davis in jail in which she responds to the interviewer asking her about violence was one of the most powerful scenes of the film. She spoke about how she lived near and knew the four girls who died in the Birmingham church bombing in 1963 and how can you speak about black people and violence without speaking of the violence done to them.

4) Did you know that free lunch and breakfast started with the Black Panthers and eventually incorporated into schools. Also, Hoover believed that the program was the most dangerous thing in America.

5) Erykah Badu said that what we need to do is not only read but write and document our stories because if we do not, we allow people to twist those stories in their favor.

6) The filmmaker wanted to interview Chaka Khan and Gil Scott-Heron but was unfortunately unable to, but it would have been great to hear what they had to say about that time.

….And there was so much more.

Tomorrow, the film will be online on the IFC website. Also, if you are in New York City, there is an exhibition at Third Streaming gallery. The director and the producers, including Danny Glover, were at the premiere Friday night and said that in the spring, they will release a book and a DVD with the extra footage and interviews that did not make it into the film. If you are not in NYC, you can check the film’s website for theaters across the country showing it.

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