Black Power Mix Tape

Art & Culture

If the expression Black Power doesn't mean much to you, here is a perfect opportunity to educate yourself in one of the most potent political movements of the last 50 years.

At the risk of embarking on a history lesson, I shall merely say that the movement grew out of a frustration with the peaceful non-violent attitudes of Martin Luther King and his followers. Younger Black radicals like Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale and others began to articulate a more militant and less passive approach. They differed somewhat in ideological views between each other, but the overall feeling was that it was time to stand up and fight back, and if that involved violence, so be it. After all, they were the constant victims of violence themselves.

What makes this film so interesting and unusual is that it is almost entirely composed of footage taken at the time by sympathetic Swedish journalists, so that rather than the usual stock TV newsreel of riots and protests, we get a portrait of the men and women involved at a more personal level, talking about their lives and beliefs and hopes. They are intelligent and thoughtful, not the ranting bigots that they were portrayed as at the time. And even though some of them died, others lost their mojo, and the movement itself largely failed in its objectives, the film gives a fascinating picture of a period in US history when the very structure of the country seemed to be at risk.


Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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