This Ava Duvernay Documentary Shines Light On How Prison System Is Legal Slavery.
When some people talk about the effects of slavery in this country, they like to argue that it was a long time ago. And Black folk should get over it. The argument is flawed. Not only are we still dealing with the remnants of slavery; but the way the prison industrial complex is set up, slavery just took on a different form in this country. It is this topic that filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores in her new documentary 13th.
The new film will be screened at the upcoming New York Film Festival and will have a limited theatrical release. It will have a home on Netflix.
In the trailer alone different experts talk about how after the 13th amendment abolished slavery, with the exception of those sentenced to serve jail or prison time, the narrative that Black men were inherently dangerous and criminal became pervasive in this country. And now, today, 1 of four imprisoned people in the world are living in the United States. They specifically mention Kalief Browder, the 16-year-old who was thrown into Riker’s after he was wrongly accused of stealing a backpack. He spent three years in prison waiting for a trial, two of them in solitary confinement. Even after he was acquitted and released, he had a hard time adjusting afterward and eventually took his life.
The trailer also shows clips of both presidential candidates, Clinton, Trump and former president Bill Clinton using rhetoric that played right into this billion dollar system.
New York Film Festival Director Kent Jones hailed the film as an act of “true patriotism.”
DuVernay herself said, “This film was made as an answer to my own questions about how and why we have become the most incarcerated nation in the world, how and why we regard some of our citizens as innately criminal, and how and why good people allow this injustice to happen generation after generation. I thank Kent Jones and the selection committee for inviting me to share what I’ve learned.”
13th will be streaming on Netflix on October 7.
Originally posted on Madame Noire
That race remains one of our most vexing national issues – from bias in the sharing economy, to the lack of diversity in the executive ranks to the violence that plays out daily between communities and the police – comes as no surprise to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson. “There is a direct line between our history and the headlines you see today,” she says. “And nothing will improve until we address that history.”
It took her 15 years and over 1,200 interviews to finish The Warmth of Other Suns, the massive and beautifully rendered account of the slow but steady migration of six million African Americans from the violent repression of the Jim Crow South, to the North and West in search of a better life. The Great Migration lasted between 1916 and 1970 and reshaped America in ways that we are just now starting to understand.
It was a tough road. “The migrants were cast as poor illiterates, who imported out-of-wedlock births, joblessness and welfare dependency wherever they went,” Wilkerson writes.
Wilkerson’s extraordinary reporting, however, tells a different and more nuanced tale – one of risk, hard work, and achievement despite racial barriers that still exist in some forms. “It’s hard to imagine what it would be like if there was no Great Migration,” she says. “So many aspects of what we view as American culture were affected by this unleashing of pent up, unrecognized talent, creativity and ability, that had been withheld for centuries.”
An astonishing number of prominent African American executives, artists or athletes either are, or are direct descendants of, someone who took that perilous journey.
In a recent conversation, I asked Wilkerson to help explain what we get wrong about the Great Migration, and why it is imperative that business leaders closely study the difficult history that shapes our world in unseen ways.
“If there are disparities in how African Americans are making their way in the business world, and they are encountering barriers and assumptions, it is a direct manifestation of the unaddressed history of the world in which we all live. History can be a tremendous guide, and more of a comfort than people can imagine.”
Read the entire interview here, it has been lightly edited for clarity.
Cali MC Kendrick Lamar has slowly carved his own lane and become one of the most prolific new age artists of today. He’s more than a rapper, he’s a visionary and a dope MC. A voice in a thoughtless world. A refreshment.
The Compton native’s 2016 Grammys performance, a new age interpretation of the iconic Alex Haley Black history film, “Roots” set the Internet world ablaze and shined the spotlight directly on America’s racial injustice epidemic. It was also empowering all in the same.
In light of the many new current affairs, ie: Flint Water Crisis and murder and mass incarceration rates in The U.S., more and more big name artists are using their star power platforms to raise awareness about the social & racial injustices suffered by many blacks in America.
Queen Beyonce used her Super Bowl 50 comeback performance as a spotlight and ode to the Black Panther Party with an all girl militant style performance to her new single, Formation.
Protesters argue that her Panther-esque performance was somehow anti police, while most believed the performance was simply about empowerment.
Can’t win them all!
You be the judge and let me know what you think!