A Huey P. Newton Story

Huey P. Newton was many things: a classical pianist, a drug addict, a black man in Amerika, a Ph.D recipient, a co-founder of the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary poster boy and "a human being just like you." This DVD is a film of a performance of a play written and performed by Richard Guenveur Smith; it's a blazing tour de force that picks you up and throws you into the fevered mind and life of a Black Amerikan who tried to change a racist system by revolutionary means and was destroyed by the process. It is also a self described "song cycle" where "the songs are the same and are sung differently in each performance," which is a tradition that dates back to ancient African griots or storytellers, but are frozen in film like a bubble in ice by an on point Spike Lee. Images from the '60s flicker in and out while Huey alternately insults, befriends, cries and sings with the audience, as well as giving an unnerving coke-fuelled dance performance, and one is left wondering, as he relates to events that happen years after his death, just how far we have progressed as a society when it comes to the twin cancers of racism and classism? This is "edutainment" of the highest quality. See it. (Urban Works, www.urbanworksent.com)