#consciousculturefriday is a weekly series here at United Black America that highlights Black conscious media, spirituality, fashion, and the Black men and women behind it all.
This weeks feature is the just released Black Power Mixtape, a documentary that covers the birth and death of the “Black Power” movement, and the physical and psychological bloodbath that ensued throughout.
The first thing that hit me about this documentary was the sound… Questlove (of the Roots) , Eryka Badu, Talib Kweli, Alicia Keys, and John Forte all add their commentary and musically tell the story of the frustrations, hopes, heartbreaks, and dreams deferred of the Black Power generation in ways that words never could. You can get a feel for the DVD with this preview:
The project is a compilation of news coverage from Sweden that looked at the Black Power movement through the foreign eyes of a Sweedish camera crew. The mixtape is told in nine chapters that span from 1967 into 1975 and introduces viewers to many of the Black revolutionaries that shaped the world we live in today.
Little known stories that you have probably never heard like Joan Little’s, Shirley Chisholm’s, George Jackson’s, and Angela Davis’ comes to mind. The documentary also gave a fresh voice to big names like Stokely Carmichael, Elridge Cleaver, Martin Luther King Jr, and Huey P. Newton.
The spirit of the time was captured bluntly, particularly the tumult that followed 1968, and the destruction of the movement. In 1968 Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King was assassinated, Mark Clark, Fred Hampton, and Medgar Evers were all assassinated, and Nixon was elected.
Following the full scale crushing of the Black Power movement, Stokley Charmichael, Elridge Cleaver, and hundreds of activists all went into exile or became political prisoners. 300 urban rebellions, 60,000 arrests, and 250 deaths at the hands of law enforcement brought America to its knees. And on the backdrop of the war in Vietnam, the United States saw its nadir.
1975 was the year that all the efforts of the government’s war on Black America were successful. The introduction of cocaine and heroin destroyed the revolutionary spirit of the Black Power movement, and neighborhoods were reduced to dangerous slums. The Black Panther Party had been destroyed, and Farrakhan made his bid for power over the corrupt Nation of Islam. Its here that the mixtape ends.
This is one of my new favorites, so I highly recommend you grab it on Amazon by clicking the cover above. Every DVD you buy on this site supports our efforts to build a Black economy, and it creates demand for projects like these. On top of that, you build your consciousness and knowledge of self.
Once you are done watching it, let the other readers know what your opinion of the project is. Some other questions to build on are:
- What is the legacy of the Black Power movement
- What were the goals of the Black Power movement
- Have those goals been achieved? Why or why not?
- How has your opinion changed about the Black Power era after watching the DVD?
Contribute to the conversation in the comments section below. Peace!