Published May 03, 2011Director Goran Hugo Ollson's much talked about documentary is able to capture the raw racism, cruelty and injustice of the struggles of the Black Power Movement in the U.S. from the late' 60s to the mid-'70s while miraculously being able to showcase the beauty, strength and intelligence of the activists, leaders and voices that made it possible for us to live in a time where a biracial President is in power.
The Black Power Mixtape may simply be a compilation of forgotten footage shot by Swedish journalists during the Black Power Movement, but it's an eye-opening and immaculately crafted documentary that while may be considered be "anti-America" also enriches younger or less knowledgeable viewers of how much we have evolved and how sad it is that this footage was left collecting dust on a shelf for decades, rather than being aired to the world years ago.
Featuring voiceovers from today's greatest artists and influences, including Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Black Panther leader Bobby Seales and the wrongfully incarcerated Angela Davis, The Black Power Mixtape's participants are able to convey a romantic sense of nostalgia while also displaying a great sense of knowledge and powerful emotion through their raw anecdotes of struggle and overcoming.
Although the footage showcases many historical events that most people who paid attention during Black History classes in high school should already know, the documentary manages to bring a unique touch by showing unseen footage of black activist Stokely Carmichael interacting with his mother, Angela Davis's heartbreaking childhood anecdote from prison (of four young African-American girls butchered in her hometown) and a young teenage prostitute's account of her turbulent life living in Harlem. It is through these unbelievably candid moments where The Black Power Mixtape is able to shine.
The Black Power Mixtape may seem redundant to some, but it's an incredible documentary that's able to stand out from the crowd through its painfully honest and poignant storytelling. (Louverture)