(On Saturdays, I’ll be posting recommendations for movies and books and other stuff. Here’s my first.)
I Am Not Your Negro
Best paired with: cigarettes and a typewriter
Not an incredibly unique documentary recommendation, but if you haven’t yet seen it, see it now. Even if you already know a lot about race and racism, you will probably see something in a different way or appreciate something differently. The film is beautiful and well-made. The argument, which belongs almost entirely to James Baldwin, is interesting and deep. I re-watched it this week and was again amazed at how ahead of his time Baldwin was. Not because he’s saying things that have relevance in 2018 (although that’s true too), but because he seems to have anticipated the late 1960s and the 1970s well in advance: Notes of a Native Son was published in 1955.
Director Raoul Peck highlights the contemporary resonance in Baldwin’s words beautifully and devastatingly through images.
The flaws: the film is an intersectionality fail. There are almost no Black women in the movie, although Black women played an extremely large and critical role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. This is a problematic reflection of how history is told rather than how it was. And although Baldwin is well known to have been queer, it’s downplayed in the film.
But even so, see it. See it.
Here’s a teaser of Baldwin’s brilliance: