Archive for the ‘Black Power’ Category

Teaching Black Power at an HBCU and the Journey to Undo the … – Atlanta Black Star

This statement of empowerment is scrawled on the wall at a University in South Africa.

This semester, at a historically Black college, I taught a course on African liberation movements that, in part, examined how such activism in Africa influenced Black Power across the globe. Most of the students in the class had not previously studied Africa and knew very little about Black Power.

After a few weeks, one student said she was ashamed that she used to see Africa as one country with beautiful animals and textiles. Another realized that he had stereotyped an entire continent despite the fact that he was from Chicago. People stereotype where Im from all the time, he lamented. Even when my friends come to visit me, they ask me if they have to worry about getting shot when they walk outside. They dont seem to know that we have imaginations; we are creative and have families who work hard. Theres a lot going on in Chicago. I realize thatIwas doing the same thing with Africa.

Exposure to independence movements in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana and Guinea; liberation wars in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau; and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in the class readings and discussions helped the students develop a global consciousness in thinking about racial, gender and economic justice and aided them in understanding the nature of struggle and the legacies of racial and colonial oppression. It was powerful to discuss these struggles at an institution so critical to the lives of Black students and the larger community. An institution that struggles for funding and survival in a national environment that is hostile to its existence and in a climate of corporatized university culture. Whether the students and surrounding community will come first in this moment is an open question.

We discussed the freedom dreams of movement activists, as well as their critiques of colonialism and white supremacy. We read the work of Franz Fanon, Assata, Aim Csaire, Amlcar Cabral, Steven Biko, Mamphela Ramphele, Walter Rodney, Kwame Tur (also known as Stokely Carmichael) and hosts of others. Students provocatively made connections between the past and the present, between conditions in places on the other side of the world and in their own hometowns. They talked about systems of oppression that have changed over timeandthey learned about people, some their age, who challenged those systems.

Within the first two weeks, one student asked, Well, if colonialism and white supremacy are so ingrained in the fabrics of societies, doesnt that mean we have to reinvent the whole system? I love those types of questions, and my answer went something like this: Well yes! How can we do that? How have people approached this in the past? How do they do so now? Several of them plan to be educators and they felt strongly that they wanted to start with very young children, by creating programs that challenged these ideas almost from birth. Others argued that we needed a global movement and that it was more possible now than ever before because of social media.

When another student realized that the Black Panthers were anti-capitalist, she exclaimed in surprise, They wanted to bring down capitalism? What were they going to replace it with? I told them that the Panthers merged a number of ideologies, including revolutionary nationalism, Maoism and intercommunalism. I reminded them that some of the authors we read argued that even our imaginations are colonized, which prevents us from thinking beyond the current systems. I asked them if they could imagine a system that put people ahead of profits. It was a challenge, but they were open to thinking about it.

The discussions of Black Power were often complicated because activists approached Black self-determination from different perspectives and because sometimes people think that Black Power is anti-white rather than antiwhite supremacy. Interestingly, sometimes students think all activists were extremists rather than recognizing Black Power as a strategy for Black liberation and a response to extreme conditions. In particular, we discussed their focus on the most marginalized, self-determination, self-defense, the critique of capitalism, the goal of removing the spiritual and cultural cancer of eurocentrism, the analysis and exposure of state-sanctioned violence and connections to Third World liberation struggles.

In one of my sadder moments during the class, an African-American male military student responded to the reading by saying, This guy seems very angry about colonialism, but without it, none of us would be here today. I suggested that some people also say the same thing about slavery, and he shrugged, responding, Well yeah.

What kind of education had this student experienced that kept this ideology intact and unquestioned? He had experienced at least 16 years of school and this college may be his last stop of formal education. His debates with his peers and with me helped him start to recognize the structural conditions that Black people are facing worldwide and the problems inherent toa system with embedded exploitation. I came to enjoy listening to how he made sense of the material he was reading and the things that stood out to him.

As an educator, I constantly think about how to expose students to the ways activists challenged deeply structural and seemingly intractable conditions in the past. I push them to imagine beyond what we see now, to develop a vision for the world and to engage in struggle for a better and more just future, through whatever approaches makes sense for them. HBCUs are a powerful vehicle for this possibility. I have never had a body of students that connected so clearly and directly to the information I was teaching.

On this historically Black campus, infrastructure, systems and funding are deep and significant challenges. The lack of access to basic resources for teaching and learning speaks to the economic disinvestment and organized abandonment faced by many institutions. The digital divide is real. The politics of survival areserious. Sometimes, things just dont work and no one knows why. In some circles, eurocentrism still rules in teaching despite efforts to change the curriculum. Some persons, who are not necessarily committed to Black students, much less to Black liberation, hold key positions. Some of the white professors complained incessantly about students who dont read, who dont belong in college or who are generally subpar. For some, it is a response to feeling unable to inspire students who often are under siege in their lives; regarding others, I wonder why and how they found themselves teaching onthiscampus, on grounds that are beyond sacred, where people laid their lives on the line so that these students could have a chance at life.

In this mire, I also have encountered professors of all races who would go to the ends of the earth for students, who see this work as part of a larger project of social justice, who have vision and courage that defy their age or confirm their wisdom. They have challenged me to step up my game and to rise to the occasion myself. And compared to predominantly white institutions (PWIs), where the administrations struggle to hire talented Black Ph.Ds, an abundance of Black people with doctorates exist here, people who excel in their fields despite lack of support and colonial-esque situations.

Many people dont realize that some HBCUs were not founded by Black people nor were they based on a mission of self-determination. Sometimes, they were founded in conditions more similar to colonial missionary educational initiatives in the Caribbean or in Africa. People of African descent took on these institutions and some worked to decolonize them, while others simply worked to model them after PWIs. I have a newfound respect for those who fight the good fight at these institutions, who are developing our next generations of Black doctors, teachers, community organizers, scientists and visionaries. These campuses remain critical spaces for educating, supporting, emboldening, and, sometimes, decolonizing.

Last year, an image circulated onFacebook of a young Black woman sporting a natural haircut walking past a graffitied wall: Always remember, this university belongs to us. It was an image from South Africa taken in the midst of the #FeesMustFall movement. #FeesMustFall and sister movements declared to the world that for Black South Africa, the promise of the movement against apartheid had not been fulfilled. In particular, higher education still needed to be decolonized, made financially accessible and infused with a vision of Black liberation.

HBCUs belong to us, too, and we must both support them and hold them accountable. As a community, we help determine whether they will fulfill their mission or betray it.

Nicole B. is a professor of Africana Studies and History from Brooklyn, N.Y.

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Teaching Black Power at an HBCU and the Journey to Undo the … – Atlanta Black Star

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April 18, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

John Ridley’s ‘Guerrilla’ series explores Britain’s ’70s-era black power movement – LA Daily News

What: John Ridleys six-episode series exploring one activist couples path from nonviolent to armed resistance in 1971 London. Stars Freida Pinto, Babou Ceesay, Rory Kinnear and Idris Elba.

When: 9 p.m. Sunday

Where: Showtime

Bigotry looks the same around the world.

At the most fundamental level, there is no difference, said filmmaker John Ridley, when asked about prejudices across the globe. When people are being marginalized or disenfranchised, it really doesnt matter if its about race, religion, creed, or color.

The Oscar winner is behind Showtimes powerful new dramatic series Guerrilla, debuting Sunday. Its set in 1971 Britain, a country that was facing its own Black Power movement at the time, though its less well-known than the one that was happening in the United States.

Ridley, who wrote the screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, says he was fascinated with the era because the Black Liberation Army and Black Panther Party were making headlines when he was growing up.

When you are a kid, there are certain elements of iconography that are very attractive, he says. But as you get older, you also start to understand things about consequences and the cascade effect.

The filmmaker is also behind ABCs American Crime and will examine the Los Angeles riots of 1992 in the documentary Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992, opening April 21 in theaters and airing April 28 on ABC.

While Guerrilla is a fictional story of the black movement in Britains 70s, it has some true-life inspirations. Ridley had been working on his film Jimi By My Side about rock icon Jimi Hendrix around the time of the publication of the book Renegade: The Life and Times of Darcus Howe. Howe, who died on April 2, was of one of the leading figures in the British black movement and a consultant on Guerrilla.

The book unearthed the existence of a counterintelligence unit within Scotland Yards Special Branch that was dedicated to suppressing black activism.

While this was appalling, Ridley was more interested in looking at the story from all sides. Instead of being about the oppressed versus the oppressors, Guerrilla tells a nuanced and uneasy story about people who too often were doing wrong with the intentions of doing right.

Its just not simple in any regard, the filmmaker says. One thing that we really wanted to get into is that these law enforcement officials were not just nameless, faceless individuals. There was a complexity to who they were and the fact that they were put into place to preserve a prevailing perspective from the ruling class.

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The series focuses on Marcus (Babou Ceesay) and Jas (Freida Pinto), a quiet couple working on leftist causes. Shes a nurse with a fiery side, and he teaches convicts for free, unable to get a paying job despite his education. Idris Elba plays Kent, Jas ex-boyfriend, a respected nonviolent leader in the black community.

After violence breaks out during a protest, a friend of Marcus and Jas, who had been targeted by the police, is killed. The murder spurs the couple to act, breaking the black militant Dhari (Nathaniel Martello-White) out of prison. Afterward, the implications of their actions begin to spiral out of control.

Dhari wants to ramp up the fight, and soon they are enmeshed in a world of 1970s radical splinter groups, with whom they have little in common. Meanwhile, police Chief Inspector Pence (Rory Kinnear), whose motives are murky, pursues the trio. Hes a Rhodesian used to brutally clamping down on blacks.

Its Marcus, however, who is the most unsure of his actions.

In the first two episodes, it does feel as if hes on a wave that other people are controlling, says Ceesay, who is from Gambia. But Marcus has also experienced and witnessed certain things that are radicalizing him. Its just about what tool do you use?

Given the right conditions, the actor thinks anyone could potentially be radicalized.

I think whats interesting about Guerilla is that maybe somewhere in all of us there is a guerilla, he says. If the conditions were right, we might become one.

Pinto agrees. It would be very interesting to see how all the people who have condemned every act of revolution would react if it was their own family member [involved], if it was their own sense of safety and identity.

While Ridley says much of what went on during the period wasnt talked about, he sees this story as pertinent to our current political situations.

There are people every single day somewhere in this country and in other countries that are dealing with the real impact of disenfranchisement, he says. The reality is it affects everybody. We can either, as Jas says, You can say something or do nothing. When people ask me what I did, Im not going to say, I sat on the fence. Certainly, as a storyteller, this is all I can do. I will continue to do it.

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John Ridley’s ‘Guerrilla’ series explores Britain’s ’70s-era black power movement – LA Daily News

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April 15, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

Black Women Were Vital to the UK’s Black Power Movement Even Though ‘Guerrilla’ Doesn’t Show It – EBONY.com

Showtime, in conjunction with Sky Atlantic in the U.K., is working overtime to promote their upcoming miniseries Guerrilla. According to the networks official website, Guerrilla is a love story about a politically active couple whose relationship and values are tested when they liberate a political prisoner and form a radical underground cell in 1970s London.

The six-part limited series is written and directed by Academy Award-winner John Ridley and stars Freida Pinto, an Indian woman, Babou Ceesay, a Black British man, and Idris Elba as Pintos ex- paramour. The trio plays a group of activists focused on ending police brutality, using armed resistance and the power to the people slogan to affect change. After looking at the official website and watching the official trailer, I noticed something troublingI could not find any significant scenes with Black women.

As an aspiring historian of the Black Atlantic in the twentieth century, as well as a Black woman of Caribbean descent, I know Black women were a significant portion of the British Black Power movement. Although Ridley argues otherwise, there is a concrete erasure of Black British women from the center of Guerrilla and when they are present, Black women are represented in problematic ways. Black women, who were leaders in the British Black Power movement, should not be shoved from the center and into the margins of their history.

In addition to the issues about Black womens erasure, Guerrilla is more fantasy than historical portrayal of the British Black Power movement. After a hectic U.K. premiere, the British public, as well as Black Twitter, voiced their disappointment with the lack of Black women figures in the series and the tepid response from the creator, cast and crew.

In Guerrilla, we have missed an opportunity to learn about the history of the Black Power movement in Great Britain, and the crucial roles Black women of Caribbean descent played in the movement.

After World War II, a mass influx of Afro-Caribbean people from mainly Jamaica and Trinidad arrived in London, as British subjects and members of the Commonwealth. British colonies in the Caribbean suffered from major unemployment and poverty that was largely ignored by Parliament and the British government. Seizing the opportunity to travel to the Metropole, Caribbean migrants sought work in a war-torn economy. Other formerly colonized groups, particularly from Southeast Asia and West Africa, later joined Caribbean migrants in London.

Once there, Black migrants tackled a new climate and unwelcoming foreign culture. Notably, this is also a time when the British government changed their Immigration and Citizenship Acts in 1962, 1968 and 1971, severely limiting mass Black and Southeast Asian migration. Many immigrants who later came to England during the sixties and seventies were middle-class students on scholarships at U.K. universities. Like Neil Kenlock, Althea Lecointe and Darcus Howe mentioned in this article, future Black Power leaders faced growing resentment from a White British society, and worked together to change the system for all races. The Black Powergeneration in Britain were largely first and second generation British citizens who wanted better access to jobs, education reform, and especially an end to police brutality.

Working-class migrants in urban communities in London like Tottenham, Brixton, and Notting Hill, as well as across the U.K. in cities like Birmingham and Manchester, suffered persecution from the Metropolitan Police, Home Office and British Special Forces. Activist Paul Field and historian Robin Bunce found that the British government formed the Black Power Desk, a counter-intelligence agency similar to COINTELPRO in the U.S. The mission of the Black Power Desk was to antagonize and eliminate Black leadership and activism in the U.K. Margaret Thatchers government also increased police power, reinstituting the 1824 Vagrancy Act, stopping and searching suspicious suspects in predominately urban communities. These sus laws were similar to stop-and-frisk laws in urban America. Furthermore, as historian Tanisha Ford has argued, Afro- Caribbean migrants and their descendants were targeted the most by the Metropolitan Police in London, causing tensions and violence in their communities. Therefore, it is within this context that Black Britons rose up to fight against racism of state and society.

With all of this in mind, I question why the only two significant Black female roles in the series were relegated to one episode out of six as a local community spokesperson, and five episodes out of six as a single mother and sex worker informant. Where are the Olive Morrisesof the movement? What happened to portrayals of Beverley Brown and Janet Davis, who founded Black Power organizations and joined the Black Panthers? Why not include the intellectual contributions of Black women scholars such as Jacqueline Nassy Brown, Tanisha Ford and Kennetta Perry, who study Black British activism during this period? Even recent articles in The Guardian highlight the contributions of only Black men and Indian British activists in the Black Power movement, while forgetting Black women leaders like Althea Jones Lecointe and Barbara Beese.

Granted, I have not seen this series just yet; it premieres on Showtime in America on Sunday, April 16th. However, I have read the deeply disconcerting comments made by Ridley,Guerillas writer, director and executive producer. An article written by Tom Grater at ScreenDaily featured the series U.K. premiere and Q&A in London where a Black British woman asked Ridley about the absence of Black women and the need for a leading Indian female character. Ridley responded, To me, everything that youre saying is exactly why that decision is so important. The fact that its difficult to accept someone, even though they are of color, of being with us He later added that, If there are things that are difficult to understand, accept, rationalize, despite the fact that if you understand the struggles of that time period those elements are not made up, those are real It fully appears as though Ridley did not understand or did not want to answer the question (see below).

Responding to another member of the audience, Ridley admitted to making the leads a mixed-race couple because he is married to anAsian woman. He added, [T]he things that are being said here, and how we are often received, is very equivalent to whats going on right now [in the wider world]. My wife is a fighter, my wife is an activist, and yet because our races are different there are a lot of things we have to still put up with. Again, Ridleys interracial marriage should not compare to Black and Southeast Asian activism in 1970s London. It reveals a lack of understanding about diverse Asian identities across geopolitical contexts, and its historically inaccurate.

Sadly, there appears to be a casual denial of needing Black female leadership in this series. Ridley and Pintos comments relating to political blackness, entirely misses the point. Indeed, political Blackness as a broad spectrum includes many marginalized groups, however as historian Tanisha Ford says in Liberated Threads, there is a specific Blackness only experienced by people of the African diaspora. Black Power emerging from the United States spoke directly to that experience.

My critique is not about Southeast Asian inclusion, but rather the elimination of significant roles for Black women revolutionary leaders, which neglects the historical truth of their contributions. Jas Mitra played by Pinto engages in armed resistance and inspires others to fight, while Kenya, played by Wunmi Mosaku, is a traitor engaged in a sexual relationship with a racist chief inspector from Rhodesia. Lets be clear, my issue is not with the actors themselves, but with the creative decisions that have unnecessarily diminished historical fact.

At the Q&A session, Black British photographer Neil Kenlock responded to another Black womans concerns, stating that he was the only one in the audience present during the movement, and that he remembered an Asian woman, too. Yet, in an earlier article promoting Kenlocks photography of the movement, there are countless images of Black women at the forefront of British Black Power protests.

If this series is based on Bunce and Fields recent study on Darcus Howe and British Black Power, which follows the trial of nine Afro-Caribbean men and women charged with inciting a riot and resisting police brutality, then Guerrilla deliberately eliminated the possibility of portraying women like Barbara Beese and Althea Jones Lecointe. Assigning the actual activism of these Black women to Pintos character and others in the name of inclusivity causes irrevocable harm to the memories of Black womens contributions.

Thank goodness for Twitter, especially Black Twitter. Since the initial press release and casting of Guerrilla last year, users highlighted the lack of Black women in the trailer and IMDb cast listing. The Twitterverse continues to point out the problems in the response of the cast and crew, who refuse to engage in the comments about Black womens erasure. Many of these voices come directly from Black women, including myself. Instead of respectful acknowledgement of Black women activists, we have the literal erasure of Angela Davis, with Freida Pintos face superimposed over Davis for marketing purposes.

This Guerrillaposter, initially retweeted by Ceesay, is an irresponsible and hurtful rewriting of the past, especially when Black women like Davis fought to be seen, respected, and heard. When Ceesay asked a Black woman in the audience during the U.K. premiere how she knew about the movement, he also revealed a lack of respect for the historical subjects and his audience. To answer that question, I say that I am aware of this history as a future historian, and like many Black women, we know and understand this history because our parents were there.

M. Hyacinth Gaynair is Rutgers University fellow and a lover of Black Atlantic History. Follow her on Twitter@blkatlanticCDN

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Black Women Were Vital to the UK’s Black Power Movement Even Though ‘Guerrilla’ Doesn’t Show It – EBONY.com

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April 12, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

SunLive – Police hunting Black Power member – The Bay’s News First – SunLive

Police need the public’s help to locate a patched senior Black Power member who’s wanted in relation to an alleged 2016 murder.

Walter Reid Ngaau, 54, currently has a warrant issued for his arrest in relation to the death of Tribesmen Motorcycle Club member John Henry Harris in Whangarei last October.

Detective Inspector Dene Begbie warns Ngaau is considered dangerous and should not be approached, but his known whereabouts or any sightings should be reported to police immediately.

This is in relation to Operation Bolt, which is our investigation into the murder of John Henry Harris in October 2016.

We have been working tirelessly on this investigation since October and have made a number of enquiries to locate Walter. However, these have been unsuccessful.”

Ngaau is 175cm tall, of medium build, and has connections to the Whangarei and Auckland areas.

Dene is also reminding anyone who may be assisting Ngaau to evade police that this is a criminal offence.

We will be taking this type of behaviour very seriously.

If you have any information which can assist police locate Walter Reid Ngaau call Detective Sergeant Shane Pilmer on 021 191 5948.

Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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SunLive – Police hunting Black Power member – The Bay’s News First – SunLive

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April 12, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

Police hunting Black Power member – SunLive

Police need the public’s help to locate a patched senior Black Power member who’s wanted in relation to an alleged 2016 murder.

Walter Reid Ngaau, 54, currently has a warrant issued for his arrest in relation to the death of Tribesmen Motorcycle Club member John Henry Harris in Whangarei last October.

Detective Inspector Dene Begbie warns Ngaau is considered dangerous and should not be approached, but his known whereabouts or any sightings should be reported to police immediately.

This is in relation to Operation Bolt, which is our investigation into the murder of John Henry Harris in October 2016.

We have been working tirelessly on this investigation since October and have made a number of enquiries to locate Walter. However, these have been unsuccessful.”

Ngaau is 175cm tall, of medium build, and has connections to the Whangarei and Auckland areas.

Dene is also reminding anyone who may be assisting Ngaau to evade police that this is a criminal offence.

We will be taking this type of behaviour very seriously.

If you have any information which can assist police locate Walter Reid Ngaau call Detective Sergeant Shane Pilmer on 021 191 5948.

Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Police hunting Black Power member – SunLive

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April 10, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

The story of the British Black Panthers through race, politics, love … – The Guardian

Black Power leader Michael X speaking at a rally in London in 1972. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images

A group of girls pose with schoolbags stencilled with the words Black Power. A young Indian man, Farrukh Dhondy, a teacher and member of the British Black Panthers, stands defiantly outside his recently firebombed home, holding the newspaper that details the bombing. Activists pose with clenched fists and a copy of Angela Daviss If They Come in the Morning. The power of these images, taken by photographer Neil Kenlock, still resonates more than 40 years later, as does the story they tell: a tale of oppression, resistance and a communitys fight for survival and forchange.

It is a story that has been largely ignored down the years. Now the black power movement, and in particular the British Black Panthers, find themselves back in the spotlight. There is a photography exhibition at Tate Britain, Stan Firm Inna Inglan: Black Diaspora in London, 1960-1970s; a proposed film about the Mangrove Nine trial in which the late Darcus Howe and fellow Black Panther Althea Jones-Lecointe successfully defended themselves against charges of incitement to riot; a celebration of Howes life at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton; and the arrival of Guerrilla, a new drama series written by 12 Years A Slave screenwriter John Ridley, which airs on Sky Atlantic.

My initial reaction was that my story just didnt feel like a British story, Ridley says. San Franciscos Bay Area was where he had planned to set his tale of a young couple in the 1970s who find themselves increasingly radicalised and ultimately moved to violence. But after speaking with Darcus [Howe], Farrukh [Dhondy] and Neil [Kenlock], I began to see that there were elements that were very, very similar. The struggles, the small indignities, the sense of a collective working together. As an American we tend to look at the UK as being so progressive and elevated with Windrush, and that is true to an extent, but beneath that there were troubles, issues, disregard and disenfranchisement.

He credits Howe with helping him understand the similarities and, crucially, differences between the two movements. For someone like Darcus to say, OK, youre an American, youre coming from a different perspective but I trust you, it meant the world to us, he says. He, Neil, Farrukh and Leila Hassan shared their memories and put us in the emotions and headspace of that time.

The result is an intense piece that captures the febrile atmosphere of Britain in the 1970s, when an establishment clinging desperately to the last remnants of a dying empire butted heads with the newly arrived citizens of those former colonies, who themselves discovered that the much-imagined motherland offered a far colder embrace than the one they dreamed of. It feels like a time capsule, says Robin Bunce, a historian at Homerton College, Cambridge, and co-author of Howes biography, Renegade. Its a picture of the period rather than a definitive truth but what it does do very well is show how much the British movement was informed by the colonial experience. Its by no means intended as a picture of the whole movement.

Paul Reid, the director of the Black Cultural Archives, agrees. Its first and foremost a drama, he says. In Britain, people didnt actually pick up guns to fight as they do in Guerrilla. Instead what happened was a grassroots organisation. Our story is one of constant community activism and social responsibility. Its a quieter story, perhaps, but one that still needs to be told.

Ridley admits that the decision to have his central couple turn to violence was deliberately provocative. In America you can have your Walter Whites and your Tony Sopranos who act outside the law and when white people are doing that its romanticised and exciting, but put a gun in a black mans hand and its like Excuse me negro what are you doing? It becomespoliticised.

That said, he stresses that the violence within the show is not presented as the only option, or even the right one. Guerrilla is about how you get to that point where an individual feels so minimised, put upon and disregarded that they feel they can no longer be part of the fabric of society and then what happens after you get past that point, he says. But there are consequences to these actions. Its not a romantic vision of what it means to take up arms.

Historical accuracy or otherwise is not the only issue surrounding the show. At a tense Q&A session after the premiere last week, repeated questions were asked about why there were so few black women in the opening episode, given the central role played by women such as Althea Jones-LeCointe, Barbara Beese and Olive Morris in the movement. Ridley remains bullish about his decision to cast Freida Pinto, an Indian actress, in the lead and to have a mixed-race couple at the centre of hisstory.

I absolutely expect that there is going to be further pushback and I honestly hope there is, he says. Because part of what we are saying is that a white person walking down the street at this time would look at them and say Oh, those blacks. To the outside world theyre both black but the reality is that they are a mixed-race couple. Their love and commitment is a big part of the show because they have to fight for that. Theyre down for each other. There are people who will have a problem with that, and I hope that they do because that problem is also part of the story were telling.

And what does work is the sense that we are watching an untold or secret history. Like David Peaces cult crime novels, including the Red Riding quartet, Ridleys television series picks at the threads of British memory and forces us to consider how we once were and how we still might be. All nations tell stories about themselves that place them in a good light, says Bunce. So in the UK the story is about how we gave independence to the Caribbean, not how they took it back. We talk about the 1965 Race Relations Act but not how people took to the street and fought.

Bunces co-author, the journalist and lawyer Paul Field, agrees. I think theres a real denial on the part of many people about racism in this country, he says. There is a history of miscarriages of justice against black and Irish people that is linked to the history of colonialism. Guerrilla taps into some of the major issues of this time and it also shows how very British and genteel that racism could be. I really hope that after watching this people then explore the real history.

It is a message that rings particularly true in todays climate where teenage asylum seekers are set on by mobs and anti-immigrant graffiti defaces walls. Where I think Guerrilla works is the way it looks at the brutality and discriminatory attitude of some white folks, says Reid. You have to remember that the police and establishment really considered the British Black Panthers a threat. These were people who took on the legal system at the Mangrove Nine trial, invoked Magna Carta and won. They werent throwing stones they were reading and writing books. They were considered a serious intellectualthreat.

Why then has it taken so long for their story to be told? Dhondy, who moved into journalism, writing and television after the British Black Panthers collapsed amid infighting, power struggles and kangaroo courts, admits that the idea often crossed his mind. I was a commissioning editor at Channel 4 from 1984 to 1997 and of course I thought of putting that history on TV, he says. But to be honest if Id said Lets do a series about the black power movement, I think Michael Grade would have just thought Oh, he just wants to write about himself and wouldnt have agreed.

He hopes instead that Guerrilla will make people reconsider the period and the movement. Its a fictionalised history but I hope it will bring the attention of the nation to the fact that this movement transformed the country, he says. The multi-ethnic drift from ex-colonies was substantial, inevitable and also irresistible. No little atavistic fears, despite Brexit, are going to change that. The black power movement, and Darcus, helped make Britain what it is today.

Elena Crippa, the co-curator of Stan Firm Inna Inglan at the Tate, agrees: British culture has always been the result of exciting cross-pollination, she says. Theres often this terrible fallacy that British culture is in some way contaminated by the arrival of people from elsewhere. In reality, the old branches and the new flourishtogether.

Away from the controversy, Ridleys main desire is for Guerrilla to kickstart a conversation about the kind of stories we prioritise on TV and in film. I think its a solid piece of storytelling and I hope it will mark the beginning of a cycle of these kinds of stories of people of colour and their experiences, whether documentaries or fictional narratives, he says. This isnt just black history its British history and it needs to be told.

All episodes of Guerrilla are available from 13 April on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV. Stan Firm Inna Inglan is on at Tate Britain until 19 November.

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The story of the British Black Panthers through race, politics, love … – The Guardian

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In ‘Black Power!,’ Art’s Political Punch and Populist Reach – New York Times


New York Times
In 'Black Power!,' Art's Political Punch and Populist Reach
New York Times
A display in the Black Power! exhibition at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem. Credit Jonathan Blanc//Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library.

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In ‘Black Power!,’ Art’s Political Punch and Populist Reach – New York Times

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One Scholar On The Future Of Black Lives Matter09:47 – Here And Now

wbur Neal Blair, of Augusta, Ga., wears a hoodie which reads, “Black Lives Matter” as stands on the lawn of the Capitol building during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Capitol Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Washington. Black men from around the nation returned to the capital calling for changes in policing and in black communities. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Black Lives Matter movement originated as an organization to combat police violence but has morphed into an organization for civil rights issues. How does it compare to the civil rights movement, and the Black Power movement of the 1960s?

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Peniel Joseph(@penieljoseph), a scholar of African-American history and professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin,about his cover story for the New Republic, “Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters.”

On how Black Lives Matter compares tothe civil rights and Black Power movements

“I think it straddles really both movements, but it’s more comparable to Black Power than civil rights. That’s primarily because BLM movement has a structural criticism of racism. So, they’re not just criticizing the justice system. They’re making a claim that the justice system in the United States is connected to unemployment, public school segregation, environmental racism and inequality. So its just basically the police are the tip of a larger iceberg of systemic oppression. What makes them so interesting is this notion of intersectionality. The three cofounders of that hashtag were all black women, feminist and queer identified. When we think about BLM, they’re really the first movement coming out of that civil rights, Black Power, black liberation struggle that places gender, sexuality, youth, poverty at the core of that movement for social change.”

On women in historical black rights movements and Black Lives Matter

“The Panthers and the wider Black Power movement, and when we think about civil rights as well, deeply implicated in systems of patriarchy and sexism and misogyny against women. With that being said, black women were also key organizers of both the civil rights protests and also Black Power. Here, with BLM being so decentralized, you’ve had black women share the spotlight and take the lead in terms of both organizing the actions and disruptions of the BLM. So, it’s really a change for the better, I would argue, when you have black women at the forefront of the leadership, but also when we think about the theoretical foundations of the leadership. They’re thinking about black women being head of single-parent households in the United States. They’re thinking about black women and rates of incarceration, the wealth gap between black and white women and the income gap, which is very important because black women are the major voters within the African-American community. They’re the major breadwinners. They’re the major people who raise the young black boys and young black men who are often victims of police violence.”

“When we think about the BLM movement, they’re both taking the civil disobedience tactic nonviolently from that civil rights struggle, but they’re ratcheting up by calling for a systematic, wide change.”

On how Black Lives Matter is more closely related to Black Power than the civil rights movement

“King is initially a reformer, and he becomes a political revolutionary. And in a way, except for adhering to nonviolence, he really starts to have a structural criticism against Vietnam, militarism, racism, human rights violations. When we think about the BLM movement, they’re both taking the civil disobedience tactic nonviolently from that civil rights struggle, but they’re ratcheting up by calling for a systematic, wide change. Their tactics have also been very disruptive, in line with the Black Power period. When we think them shutting down highways, some people were very supportive of that, but it’s to the chagrin of others. There were Black Lives Matter rallies that were disrupting the status quo on college campuses. They were even disrupting people’s brunch in New York City and other cities to the chagrin of many yuppies and buppies and elites of all stripes. So when we think about the BLM, it’s really about both that structural critique and the robust, in-your-face tactics that they’re using.”

On the movements decentralization of leadership

“That’s a good thing in that they’re very similar civil rights organizing vis-a-vis the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Their nickname was SNCC, and when we think about SNCC, we associate them by 1966 with Stokely Carmichael and the call for Black Power. But initially, they were founded by Ella Jo Baker, whos an activist from North Carolina, a feminist, a trade unionist and really one of the most important organizers of the 1960s. And she tells the young people not to be hijacked or come under the thumb of any of the older leadership. Even though Ella Baker’s around 60 at this time, she’s making an argument that decentralized leadership is better than having one central political mobilizer like King, who the movement sort of rises and falls with. So, when we think about the BLM movement, what’s so great about the dozens of chapters that they have is that there isn’t one person who’s leading all of this. That makes it harder for media to identify and set up neat narratives with the movement. But I think that it means that the movement’s going to be much longer lasting because we actually have people doing work and organizing, and it’s not a top down hierarchical leadership structure.

“And we’ve seen that through BLM and the Movement for Black Lives policy agenda that was published last summer that talked about ending the war against black people, divesting from criminal justice institutions that incarcerate and lead to mass incarceration and investing in black youth in neighborhoods and communities. I would say we do have several young activists who people know who they are, including Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, DeRay McKesson and others, who are organizing and young people know who they are. But it’s just not the top-down celebrity culture that we saw in the context of the 1960s and ’70s. And remember that also it didn’t work. Very, very famous people didn’t lead to the kind of substantive transformation that people had hoped for because if it had, we wouldn’t have the need for BLM movement 50 years later in 2017.”

On what he’d say to people who think the pendulum has swung too far fromgovernment standing up for law enforcement

“Well, I’d say that’s absolutely the wrong perspective because the BLM movement really illustrated the depth and breadth of structural racism and state violence through law enforcement against African-American, against Latino and, at times, poor white communities in the United States. If anything, we need dramatic and radical reform that actually goes beyond what Obama’s Justice Department politically could achieve. We have to change and transform this whole society. And in that way, they do go back to Dr. King and when King talked about a bitter and beautiful struggle for social and political change.”

This segment aired on April 5, 2017.

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One Scholar On The Future Of Black Lives Matter09:47 – Here And Now

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John Ridley defends casting Indian actor Freida Pinto in British … – International Business Times UK

Oscar-winning director John Ridley has explained his decision to cast Indian actress Freida Pinto as the lead protagonist in his new drama, Guerrilla.

Speaking at the London premiere of the six-part series which explores what it meant to be an activist within the British Black Power movement of the 1970s Ridley, said that “people that are involved with this show are the most reflective cast and crew you will find anywhere.”

The 51-year-old filmmaker, who has been married to his Japanese wife Gayle for 17 years, faced strong questions about race during a post-screening Q&A, with some audience members raising their concerns about what they described as “the erasure of black women”.

In the London-based drama, Pinto, who rose to prominence after starring alongside Dev Patel in 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, plays Jas Mitra a nurse turned activist who along with her husband Marcus (Babou Ceesay) liberates a political prisoner and forms a radical underground cell. She is at the forefront of the struggle against a racist police force and the oppression faced by minorities.

Guerrilla explores what might have happened had the original Black Power movement used violence and also reminds viewers of the contribution the Asian community made to Britain’s ‘forgotten history’.

“It is a question that people have asked and perhaps a question I would have asked, and did, prior to educating myself on the circumstances that happened in this country,” said Ridley.

“I cannot entertain a dialogue about whether the lead character should have been black or Asian. The lead character for this show should be a strong woman of colour.”

Ridley, who took home the Best Screenplay award at the 2014 Academy awards for 12 Years a Slave, said the mini-series touches on issues of black oppression, police brutality and interracial dating, issues which still resonate till today. He believes it a very appropriate time to hark back to the movement’s routes.

Though fictional, Guerrilla is rooted in the realities of an era. “[If] you understand the struggles of that time period, those elements are not made up. Those are real. So if it’s difficult for anybody to understands or accepted easily then I feel I have done my job.”

Luther actor Idris Elba stars and also serves as an executive producer for the miniseries, which will air on Sky Atlantic from Thursday, 13 April 2017.

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John Ridley defends casting Indian actor Freida Pinto in British … – International Business Times UK

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Teaching Black Power at an HBCU and the Journey to Undo the … – Atlanta Black Star

This statement of empowerment is scrawled on the wall at a University in South Africa. This semester, at a historically Black college, I taught a course on African liberation movements that, in part, examined how such activism in Africa influenced Black Power across the globe. Most of the students in the class had not previously studied Africa and knew very little about Black Power. After a few weeks, one student said she was ashamed that she used to see Africa as one country with beautiful animals and textiles. Another realized that he had stereotyped an entire continent despite the fact that he was from Chicago. People stereotype where Im from all the time, he lamented. Even when my friends come to visit me, they ask me if they have to worry about getting shot when they walk outside. They dont seem to know that we have imaginations; we are creative and have families who work hard. Theres a lot going on in Chicago. I realize thatIwas doing the same thing with Africa. Exposure to independence movements in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana and Guinea; liberation wars in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau; and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in the class readings and discussions helped the students develop a global consciousness in thinking about racial, gender and economic justice and aided them in understanding the nature of struggle and the legacies of racial and colonial oppression. It was powerful to discuss these struggles at an institution so critical to the lives of Black students and the larger community. An institution that struggles for funding and survival in a national environment that is hostile to its existence and in a climate of corporatized university culture. Whether the students and surrounding community will come first in this moment is an open question. We discussed the freedom dreams of movement activists, as well as their critiques of colonialism and white supremacy. We read the work of Franz Fanon, Assata, Aim Csaire, Amlcar Cabral, Steven Biko, Mamphela Ramphele, Walter Rodney, Kwame Tur (also known as Stokely Carmichael) and hosts of others. Students provocatively made connections between the past and the present, between conditions in places on the other side of the world and in their own hometowns. They talked about systems of oppression that have changed over timeandthey learned about people, some their age, who challenged those systems. Within the first two weeks, one student asked, Well, if colonialism and white supremacy are so ingrained in the fabrics of societies, doesnt that mean we have to reinvent the whole system? I love those types of questions, and my answer went something like this: Well yes! How can we do that? How have people approached this in the past? How do they do so now? Several of them plan to be educators and they felt strongly that they wanted to start with very young children, by creating programs that challenged these ideas almost from birth. Others argued that we needed a global movement and that it was more possible now than ever before because of social media. When another student realized that the Black Panthers were anti-capitalist, she exclaimed in surprise, They wanted to bring down capitalism? What were they going to replace it with? I told them that the Panthers merged a number of ideologies, including revolutionary nationalism, Maoism and intercommunalism. I reminded them that some of the authors we read argued that even our imaginations are colonized, which prevents us from thinking beyond the current systems. I asked them if they could imagine a system that put people ahead of profits. It was a challenge, but they were open to thinking about it. The discussions of Black Power were often complicated because activists approached Black self-determination from different perspectives and because sometimes people think that Black Power is anti-white rather than antiwhite supremacy. Interestingly, sometimes students think all activists were extremists rather than recognizing Black Power as a strategy for Black liberation and a response to extreme conditions. In particular, we discussed their focus on the most marginalized, self-determination, self-defense, the critique of capitalism, the goal of removing the spiritual and cultural cancer of eurocentrism, the analysis and exposure of state-sanctioned violence and connections to Third World liberation struggles. In one of my sadder moments during the class, an African-American male military student responded to the reading by saying, This guy seems very angry about colonialism, but without it, none of us would be here today. I suggested that some people also say the same thing about slavery, and he shrugged, responding, Well yeah. What kind of education had this student experienced that kept this ideology intact and unquestioned? He had experienced at least 16 years of school and this college may be his last stop of formal education. His debates with his peers and with me helped him start to recognize the structural conditions that Black people are facing worldwide and the problems inherent toa system with embedded exploitation. I came to enjoy listening to how he made sense of the material he was reading and the things that stood out to him. As an educator, I constantly think about how to expose students to the ways activists challenged deeply structural and seemingly intractable conditions in the past. I push them to imagine beyond what we see now, to develop a vision for the world and to engage in struggle for a better and more just future, through whatever approaches makes sense for them. HBCUs are a powerful vehicle for this possibility. I have never had a body of students that connected so clearly and directly to the information I was teaching. On this historically Black campus, infrastructure, systems and funding are deep and significant challenges. The lack of access to basic resources for teaching and learning speaks to the economic disinvestment and organized abandonment faced by many institutions. The digital divide is real. The politics of survival areserious. Sometimes, things just dont work and no one knows why. In some circles, eurocentrism still rules in teaching despite efforts to change the curriculum. Some persons, who are not necessarily committed to Black students, much less to Black liberation, hold key positions. Some of the white professors complained incessantly about students who dont read, who dont belong in college or who are generally subpar. For some, it is a response to feeling unable to inspire students who often are under siege in their lives; regarding others, I wonder why and how they found themselves teaching onthiscampus, on grounds that are beyond sacred, where people laid their lives on the line so that these students could have a chance at life. In this mire, I also have encountered professors of all races who would go to the ends of the earth for students, who see this work as part of a larger project of social justice, who have vision and courage that defy their age or confirm their wisdom. They have challenged me to step up my game and to rise to the occasion myself. And compared to predominantly white institutions (PWIs), where the administrations struggle to hire talented Black Ph.Ds, an abundance of Black people with doctorates exist here, people who excel in their fields despite lack of support and colonial-esque situations. Many people dont realize that some HBCUs were not founded by Black people nor were they based on a mission of self-determination. Sometimes, they were founded in conditions more similar to colonial missionary educational initiatives in the Caribbean or in Africa. People of African descent took on these institutions and some worked to decolonize them, while others simply worked to model them after PWIs. I have a newfound respect for those who fight the good fight at these institutions, who are developing our next generations of Black doctors, teachers, community organizers, scientists and visionaries. These campuses remain critical spaces for educating, supporting, emboldening, and, sometimes, decolonizing. Last year, an image circulated onFacebook of a young Black woman sporting a natural haircut walking past a graffitied wall: Always remember, this university belongs to us. It was an image from South Africa taken in the midst of the #FeesMustFall movement. #FeesMustFall and sister movements declared to the world that for Black South Africa, the promise of the movement against apartheid had not been fulfilled. In particular, higher education still needed to be decolonized, made financially accessible and infused with a vision of Black liberation. HBCUs belong to us, too, and we must both support them and hold them accountable. As a community, we help determine whether they will fulfill their mission or betray it. Nicole B. is a professor of Africana Studies and History from Brooklyn, N.Y.

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John Ridley’s ‘Guerrilla’ series explores Britain’s ’70s-era black power movement – LA Daily News

What: John Ridleys six-episode series exploring one activist couples path from nonviolent to armed resistance in 1971 London. Stars Freida Pinto, Babou Ceesay, Rory Kinnear and Idris Elba. When: 9 p.m. Sunday Where: Showtime Bigotry looks the same around the world. At the most fundamental level, there is no difference, said filmmaker John Ridley, when asked about prejudices across the globe. When people are being marginalized or disenfranchised, it really doesnt matter if its about race, religion, creed, or color. The Oscar winner is behind Showtimes powerful new dramatic series Guerrilla, debuting Sunday. Its set in 1971 Britain, a country that was facing its own Black Power movement at the time, though its less well-known than the one that was happening in the United States. Ridley, who wrote the screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, says he was fascinated with the era because the Black Liberation Army and Black Panther Party were making headlines when he was growing up. When you are a kid, there are certain elements of iconography that are very attractive, he says. But as you get older, you also start to understand things about consequences and the cascade effect. The filmmaker is also behind ABCs American Crime and will examine the Los Angeles riots of 1992 in the documentary Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992, opening April 21 in theaters and airing April 28 on ABC. While Guerrilla is a fictional story of the black movement in Britains 70s, it has some true-life inspirations. Ridley had been working on his film Jimi By My Side about rock icon Jimi Hendrix around the time of the publication of the book Renegade: The Life and Times of Darcus Howe. Howe, who died on April 2, was of one of the leading figures in the British black movement and a consultant on Guerrilla. The book unearthed the existence of a counterintelligence unit within Scotland Yards Special Branch that was dedicated to suppressing black activism. While this was appalling, Ridley was more interested in looking at the story from all sides. Instead of being about the oppressed versus the oppressors, Guerrilla tells a nuanced and uneasy story about people who too often were doing wrong with the intentions of doing right. Its just not simple in any regard, the filmmaker says. One thing that we really wanted to get into is that these law enforcement officials were not just nameless, faceless individuals. There was a complexity to who they were and the fact that they were put into place to preserve a prevailing perspective from the ruling class. Advertisement The series focuses on Marcus (Babou Ceesay) and Jas (Freida Pinto), a quiet couple working on leftist causes. Shes a nurse with a fiery side, and he teaches convicts for free, unable to get a paying job despite his education. Idris Elba plays Kent, Jas ex-boyfriend, a respected nonviolent leader in the black community. After violence breaks out during a protest, a friend of Marcus and Jas, who had been targeted by the police, is killed. The murder spurs the couple to act, breaking the black militant Dhari (Nathaniel Martello-White) out of prison. Afterward, the implications of their actions begin to spiral out of control. Dhari wants to ramp up the fight, and soon they are enmeshed in a world of 1970s radical splinter groups, with whom they have little in common. Meanwhile, police Chief Inspector Pence (Rory Kinnear), whose motives are murky, pursues the trio. Hes a Rhodesian used to brutally clamping down on blacks. Its Marcus, however, who is the most unsure of his actions. In the first two episodes, it does feel as if hes on a wave that other people are controlling, says Ceesay, who is from Gambia. But Marcus has also experienced and witnessed certain things that are radicalizing him. Its just about what tool do you use? Given the right conditions, the actor thinks anyone could potentially be radicalized. I think whats interesting about Guerilla is that maybe somewhere in all of us there is a guerilla, he says. If the conditions were right, we might become one. Pinto agrees. It would be very interesting to see how all the people who have condemned every act of revolution would react if it was their own family member [involved], if it was their own sense of safety and identity. While Ridley says much of what went on during the period wasnt talked about, he sees this story as pertinent to our current political situations. There are people every single day somewhere in this country and in other countries that are dealing with the real impact of disenfranchisement, he says. The reality is it affects everybody. We can either, as Jas says, You can say something or do nothing. When people ask me what I did, Im not going to say, I sat on the fence. Certainly, as a storyteller, this is all I can do. I will continue to do it.

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Black Women Were Vital to the UK’s Black Power Movement Even Though ‘Guerrilla’ Doesn’t Show It – EBONY.com

Showtime, in conjunction with Sky Atlantic in the U.K., is working overtime to promote their upcoming miniseries Guerrilla. According to the networks official website, Guerrilla is a love story about a politically active couple whose relationship and values are tested when they liberate a political prisoner and form a radical underground cell in 1970s London. The six-part limited series is written and directed by Academy Award-winner John Ridley and stars Freida Pinto, an Indian woman, Babou Ceesay, a Black British man, and Idris Elba as Pintos ex- paramour. The trio plays a group of activists focused on ending police brutality, using armed resistance and the power to the people slogan to affect change. After looking at the official website and watching the official trailer, I noticed something troublingI could not find any significant scenes with Black women. As an aspiring historian of the Black Atlantic in the twentieth century, as well as a Black woman of Caribbean descent, I know Black women were a significant portion of the British Black Power movement. Although Ridley argues otherwise, there is a concrete erasure of Black British women from the center of Guerrilla and when they are present, Black women are represented in problematic ways. Black women, who were leaders in the British Black Power movement, should not be shoved from the center and into the margins of their history. In addition to the issues about Black womens erasure, Guerrilla is more fantasy than historical portrayal of the British Black Power movement. After a hectic U.K. premiere, the British public, as well as Black Twitter, voiced their disappointment with the lack of Black women figures in the series and the tepid response from the creator, cast and crew. In Guerrilla, we have missed an opportunity to learn about the history of the Black Power movement in Great Britain, and the crucial roles Black women of Caribbean descent played in the movement. After World War II, a mass influx of Afro-Caribbean people from mainly Jamaica and Trinidad arrived in London, as British subjects and members of the Commonwealth. British colonies in the Caribbean suffered from major unemployment and poverty that was largely ignored by Parliament and the British government. Seizing the opportunity to travel to the Metropole, Caribbean migrants sought work in a war-torn economy. Other formerly colonized groups, particularly from Southeast Asia and West Africa, later joined Caribbean migrants in London. Once there, Black migrants tackled a new climate and unwelcoming foreign culture. Notably, this is also a time when the British government changed their Immigration and Citizenship Acts in 1962, 1968 and 1971, severely limiting mass Black and Southeast Asian migration. Many immigrants who later came to England during the sixties and seventies were middle-class students on scholarships at U.K. universities. Like Neil Kenlock, Althea Lecointe and Darcus Howe mentioned in this article, future Black Power leaders faced growing resentment from a White British society, and worked together to change the system for all races. The Black Powergeneration in Britain were largely first and second generation British citizens who wanted better access to jobs, education reform, and especially an end to police brutality. Working-class migrants in urban communities in London like Tottenham, Brixton, and Notting Hill, as well as across the U.K. in cities like Birmingham and Manchester, suffered persecution from the Metropolitan Police, Home Office and British Special Forces. Activist Paul Field and historian Robin Bunce found that the British government formed the Black Power Desk, a counter-intelligence agency similar to COINTELPRO in the U.S. The mission of the Black Power Desk was to antagonize and eliminate Black leadership and activism in the U.K. Margaret Thatchers government also increased police power, reinstituting the 1824 Vagrancy Act, stopping and searching suspicious suspects in predominately urban communities. These sus laws were similar to stop-and-frisk laws in urban America. Furthermore, as historian Tanisha Ford has argued, Afro- Caribbean migrants and their descendants were targeted the most by the Metropolitan Police in London, causing tensions and violence in their communities. Therefore, it is within this context that Black Britons rose up to fight against racism of state and society. With all of this in mind, I question why the only two significant Black female roles in the series were relegated to one episode out of six as a local community spokesperson, and five episodes out of six as a single mother and sex worker informant. Where are the Olive Morrisesof the movement? What happened to portrayals of Beverley Brown and Janet Davis, who founded Black Power organizations and joined the Black Panthers? Why not include the intellectual contributions of Black women scholars such as Jacqueline Nassy Brown, Tanisha Ford and Kennetta Perry, who study Black British activism during this period? Even recent articles in The Guardian highlight the contributions of only Black men and Indian British activists in the Black Power movement, while forgetting Black women leaders like Althea Jones Lecointe and Barbara Beese. Granted, I have not seen this series just yet; it premieres on Showtime in America on Sunday, April 16th. However, I have read the deeply disconcerting comments made by Ridley,Guerillas writer, director and executive producer. An article written by Tom Grater at ScreenDaily featured the series U.K. premiere and Q&A in London where a Black British woman asked Ridley about the absence of Black women and the need for a leading Indian female character. Ridley responded, To me, everything that youre saying is exactly why that decision is so important. The fact that its difficult to accept someone, even though they are of color, of being with us He later added that, If there are things that are difficult to understand, accept, rationalize, despite the fact that if you understand the struggles of that time period those elements are not made up, those are real It fully appears as though Ridley did not understand or did not want to answer the question (see below). Responding to another member of the audience, Ridley admitted to making the leads a mixed-race couple because he is married to anAsian woman. He added, [T]he things that are being said here, and how we are often received, is very equivalent to whats going on right now [in the wider world]. My wife is a fighter, my wife is an activist, and yet because our races are different there are a lot of things we have to still put up with. Again, Ridleys interracial marriage should not compare to Black and Southeast Asian activism in 1970s London. It reveals a lack of understanding about diverse Asian identities across geopolitical contexts, and its historically inaccurate. Sadly, there appears to be a casual denial of needing Black female leadership in this series. Ridley and Pintos comments relating to political blackness, entirely misses the point. Indeed, political Blackness as a broad spectrum includes many marginalized groups, however as historian Tanisha Ford says in Liberated Threads, there is a specific Blackness only experienced by people of the African diaspora. Black Power emerging from the United States spoke directly to that experience. My critique is not about Southeast Asian inclusion, but rather the elimination of significant roles for Black women revolutionary leaders, which neglects the historical truth of their contributions. Jas Mitra played by Pinto engages in armed resistance and inspires others to fight, while Kenya, played by Wunmi Mosaku, is a traitor engaged in a sexual relationship with a racist chief inspector from Rhodesia. Lets be clear, my issue is not with the actors themselves, but with the creative decisions that have unnecessarily diminished historical fact. At the Q&A session, Black British photographer Neil Kenlock responded to another Black womans concerns, stating that he was the only one in the audience present during the movement, and that he remembered an Asian woman, too. Yet, in an earlier article promoting Kenlocks photography of the movement, there are countless images of Black women at the forefront of British Black Power protests. If this series is based on Bunce and Fields recent study on Darcus Howe and British Black Power, which follows the trial of nine Afro-Caribbean men and women charged with inciting a riot and resisting police brutality, then Guerrilla deliberately eliminated the possibility of portraying women like Barbara Beese and Althea Jones Lecointe. Assigning the actual activism of these Black women to Pintos character and others in the name of inclusivity causes irrevocable harm to the memories of Black womens contributions. Thank goodness for Twitter, especially Black Twitter. Since the initial press release and casting of Guerrilla last year, users highlighted the lack of Black women in the trailer and IMDb cast listing. The Twitterverse continues to point out the problems in the response of the cast and crew, who refuse to engage in the comments about Black womens erasure. Many of these voices come directly from Black women, including myself. Instead of respectful acknowledgement of Black women activists, we have the literal erasure of Angela Davis, with Freida Pintos face superimposed over Davis for marketing purposes. This Guerrillaposter, initially retweeted by Ceesay, is an irresponsible and hurtful rewriting of the past, especially when Black women like Davis fought to be seen, respected, and heard. When Ceesay asked a Black woman in the audience during the U.K. premiere how she knew about the movement, he also revealed a lack of respect for the historical subjects and his audience. To answer that question, I say that I am aware of this history as a future historian, and like many Black women, we know and understand this history because our parents were there. M. Hyacinth Gaynair is Rutgers University fellow and a lover of Black Atlantic History. Follow her on Twitter@blkatlanticCDN

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SunLive – Police hunting Black Power member – The Bay’s News First – SunLive

Police need the public’s help to locate a patched senior Black Power member who’s wanted in relation to an alleged 2016 murder. Walter Reid Ngaau, 54, currently has a warrant issued for his arrest in relation to the death of Tribesmen Motorcycle Club member John Henry Harris in Whangarei last October. Detective Inspector Dene Begbie warns Ngaau is considered dangerous and should not be approached, but his known whereabouts or any sightings should be reported to police immediately. This is in relation to Operation Bolt, which is our investigation into the murder of John Henry Harris in October 2016. We have been working tirelessly on this investigation since October and have made a number of enquiries to locate Walter. However, these have been unsuccessful.” Ngaau is 175cm tall, of medium build, and has connections to the Whangarei and Auckland areas. Dene is also reminding anyone who may be assisting Ngaau to evade police that this is a criminal offence. We will be taking this type of behaviour very seriously. If you have any information which can assist police locate Walter Reid Ngaau call Detective Sergeant Shane Pilmer on 021 191 5948. Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Police hunting Black Power member – SunLive

Police need the public’s help to locate a patched senior Black Power member who’s wanted in relation to an alleged 2016 murder. Walter Reid Ngaau, 54, currently has a warrant issued for his arrest in relation to the death of Tribesmen Motorcycle Club member John Henry Harris in Whangarei last October. Detective Inspector Dene Begbie warns Ngaau is considered dangerous and should not be approached, but his known whereabouts or any sightings should be reported to police immediately. This is in relation to Operation Bolt, which is our investigation into the murder of John Henry Harris in October 2016. We have been working tirelessly on this investigation since October and have made a number of enquiries to locate Walter. However, these have been unsuccessful.” Ngaau is 175cm tall, of medium build, and has connections to the Whangarei and Auckland areas. Dene is also reminding anyone who may be assisting Ngaau to evade police that this is a criminal offence. We will be taking this type of behaviour very seriously. If you have any information which can assist police locate Walter Reid Ngaau call Detective Sergeant Shane Pilmer on 021 191 5948. Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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April 10, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

The story of the British Black Panthers through race, politics, love … – The Guardian

Black Power leader Michael X speaking at a rally in London in 1972. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images A group of girls pose with schoolbags stencilled with the words Black Power. A young Indian man, Farrukh Dhondy, a teacher and member of the British Black Panthers, stands defiantly outside his recently firebombed home, holding the newspaper that details the bombing. Activists pose with clenched fists and a copy of Angela Daviss If They Come in the Morning. The power of these images, taken by photographer Neil Kenlock, still resonates more than 40 years later, as does the story they tell: a tale of oppression, resistance and a communitys fight for survival and forchange. It is a story that has been largely ignored down the years. Now the black power movement, and in particular the British Black Panthers, find themselves back in the spotlight. There is a photography exhibition at Tate Britain, Stan Firm Inna Inglan: Black Diaspora in London, 1960-1970s; a proposed film about the Mangrove Nine trial in which the late Darcus Howe and fellow Black Panther Althea Jones-Lecointe successfully defended themselves against charges of incitement to riot; a celebration of Howes life at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton; and the arrival of Guerrilla, a new drama series written by 12 Years A Slave screenwriter John Ridley, which airs on Sky Atlantic. My initial reaction was that my story just didnt feel like a British story, Ridley says. San Franciscos Bay Area was where he had planned to set his tale of a young couple in the 1970s who find themselves increasingly radicalised and ultimately moved to violence. But after speaking with Darcus [Howe], Farrukh [Dhondy] and Neil [Kenlock], I began to see that there were elements that were very, very similar. The struggles, the small indignities, the sense of a collective working together. As an American we tend to look at the UK as being so progressive and elevated with Windrush, and that is true to an extent, but beneath that there were troubles, issues, disregard and disenfranchisement. He credits Howe with helping him understand the similarities and, crucially, differences between the two movements. For someone like Darcus to say, OK, youre an American, youre coming from a different perspective but I trust you, it meant the world to us, he says. He, Neil, Farrukh and Leila Hassan shared their memories and put us in the emotions and headspace of that time. The result is an intense piece that captures the febrile atmosphere of Britain in the 1970s, when an establishment clinging desperately to the last remnants of a dying empire butted heads with the newly arrived citizens of those former colonies, who themselves discovered that the much-imagined motherland offered a far colder embrace than the one they dreamed of. It feels like a time capsule, says Robin Bunce, a historian at Homerton College, Cambridge, and co-author of Howes biography, Renegade. Its a picture of the period rather than a definitive truth but what it does do very well is show how much the British movement was informed by the colonial experience. Its by no means intended as a picture of the whole movement. Paul Reid, the director of the Black Cultural Archives, agrees. Its first and foremost a drama, he says. In Britain, people didnt actually pick up guns to fight as they do in Guerrilla. Instead what happened was a grassroots organisation. Our story is one of constant community activism and social responsibility. Its a quieter story, perhaps, but one that still needs to be told. Ridley admits that the decision to have his central couple turn to violence was deliberately provocative. In America you can have your Walter Whites and your Tony Sopranos who act outside the law and when white people are doing that its romanticised and exciting, but put a gun in a black mans hand and its like Excuse me negro what are you doing? It becomespoliticised. That said, he stresses that the violence within the show is not presented as the only option, or even the right one. Guerrilla is about how you get to that point where an individual feels so minimised, put upon and disregarded that they feel they can no longer be part of the fabric of society and then what happens after you get past that point, he says. But there are consequences to these actions. Its not a romantic vision of what it means to take up arms. Historical accuracy or otherwise is not the only issue surrounding the show. At a tense Q&A session after the premiere last week, repeated questions were asked about why there were so few black women in the opening episode, given the central role played by women such as Althea Jones-LeCointe, Barbara Beese and Olive Morris in the movement. Ridley remains bullish about his decision to cast Freida Pinto, an Indian actress, in the lead and to have a mixed-race couple at the centre of hisstory. I absolutely expect that there is going to be further pushback and I honestly hope there is, he says. Because part of what we are saying is that a white person walking down the street at this time would look at them and say Oh, those blacks. To the outside world theyre both black but the reality is that they are a mixed-race couple. Their love and commitment is a big part of the show because they have to fight for that. Theyre down for each other. There are people who will have a problem with that, and I hope that they do because that problem is also part of the story were telling. And what does work is the sense that we are watching an untold or secret history. Like David Peaces cult crime novels, including the Red Riding quartet, Ridleys television series picks at the threads of British memory and forces us to consider how we once were and how we still might be. All nations tell stories about themselves that place them in a good light, says Bunce. So in the UK the story is about how we gave independence to the Caribbean, not how they took it back. We talk about the 1965 Race Relations Act but not how people took to the street and fought. Bunces co-author, the journalist and lawyer Paul Field, agrees. I think theres a real denial on the part of many people about racism in this country, he says. There is a history of miscarriages of justice against black and Irish people that is linked to the history of colonialism. Guerrilla taps into some of the major issues of this time and it also shows how very British and genteel that racism could be. I really hope that after watching this people then explore the real history. It is a message that rings particularly true in todays climate where teenage asylum seekers are set on by mobs and anti-immigrant graffiti defaces walls. Where I think Guerrilla works is the way it looks at the brutality and discriminatory attitude of some white folks, says Reid. You have to remember that the police and establishment really considered the British Black Panthers a threat. These were people who took on the legal system at the Mangrove Nine trial, invoked Magna Carta and won. They werent throwing stones they were reading and writing books. They were considered a serious intellectualthreat. Why then has it taken so long for their story to be told? Dhondy, who moved into journalism, writing and television after the British Black Panthers collapsed amid infighting, power struggles and kangaroo courts, admits that the idea often crossed his mind. I was a commissioning editor at Channel 4 from 1984 to 1997 and of course I thought of putting that history on TV, he says. But to be honest if Id said Lets do a series about the black power movement, I think Michael Grade would have just thought Oh, he just wants to write about himself and wouldnt have agreed. He hopes instead that Guerrilla will make people reconsider the period and the movement. Its a fictionalised history but I hope it will bring the attention of the nation to the fact that this movement transformed the country, he says. The multi-ethnic drift from ex-colonies was substantial, inevitable and also irresistible. No little atavistic fears, despite Brexit, are going to change that. The black power movement, and Darcus, helped make Britain what it is today. Elena Crippa, the co-curator of Stan Firm Inna Inglan at the Tate, agrees: British culture has always been the result of exciting cross-pollination, she says. Theres often this terrible fallacy that British culture is in some way contaminated by the arrival of people from elsewhere. In reality, the old branches and the new flourishtogether. Away from the controversy, Ridleys main desire is for Guerrilla to kickstart a conversation about the kind of stories we prioritise on TV and in film. I think its a solid piece of storytelling and I hope it will mark the beginning of a cycle of these kinds of stories of people of colour and their experiences, whether documentaries or fictional narratives, he says. This isnt just black history its British history and it needs to be told. All episodes of Guerrilla are available from 13 April on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV. Stan Firm Inna Inglan is on at Tate Britain until 19 November.

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April 10, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

In ‘Black Power!,’ Art’s Political Punch and Populist Reach – New York Times

New York Times In ' Black Power !,' Art's Political Punch and Populist Reach New York Times A display in the Black Power ! exhibition at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem. Credit Jonathan Blanc//Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library.

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One Scholar On The Future Of Black Lives Matter09:47 – Here And Now

wbur Neal Blair, of Augusta, Ga., wears a hoodie which reads, “Black Lives Matter” as stands on the lawn of the Capitol building during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Capitol Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Washington. Black men from around the nation returned to the capital calling for changes in policing and in black communities. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) The Black Lives Matter movement originated as an organization to combat police violence but has morphed into an organization for civil rights issues. How does it compare to the civil rights movement, and the Black Power movement of the 1960s? Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Peniel Joseph(@penieljoseph), a scholar of African-American history and professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin,about his cover story for the New Republic, “Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters.” On how Black Lives Matter compares tothe civil rights and Black Power movements “I think it straddles really both movements, but it’s more comparable to Black Power than civil rights. That’s primarily because BLM movement has a structural criticism of racism. So, they’re not just criticizing the justice system. They’re making a claim that the justice system in the United States is connected to unemployment, public school segregation, environmental racism and inequality. So its just basically the police are the tip of a larger iceberg of systemic oppression. What makes them so interesting is this notion of intersectionality. The three cofounders of that hashtag were all black women, feminist and queer identified. When we think about BLM, they’re really the first movement coming out of that civil rights, Black Power, black liberation struggle that places gender, sexuality, youth, poverty at the core of that movement for social change.” On women in historical black rights movements and Black Lives Matter “The Panthers and the wider Black Power movement, and when we think about civil rights as well, deeply implicated in systems of patriarchy and sexism and misogyny against women. With that being said, black women were also key organizers of both the civil rights protests and also Black Power. Here, with BLM being so decentralized, you’ve had black women share the spotlight and take the lead in terms of both organizing the actions and disruptions of the BLM. So, it’s really a change for the better, I would argue, when you have black women at the forefront of the leadership, but also when we think about the theoretical foundations of the leadership. They’re thinking about black women being head of single-parent households in the United States. They’re thinking about black women and rates of incarceration, the wealth gap between black and white women and the income gap, which is very important because black women are the major voters within the African-American community. They’re the major breadwinners. They’re the major people who raise the young black boys and young black men who are often victims of police violence.” “When we think about the BLM movement, they’re both taking the civil disobedience tactic nonviolently from that civil rights struggle, but they’re ratcheting up by calling for a systematic, wide change.” On how Black Lives Matter is more closely related to Black Power than the civil rights movement “King is initially a reformer, and he becomes a political revolutionary. And in a way, except for adhering to nonviolence, he really starts to have a structural criticism against Vietnam, militarism, racism, human rights violations. When we think about the BLM movement, they’re both taking the civil disobedience tactic nonviolently from that civil rights struggle, but they’re ratcheting up by calling for a systematic, wide change. Their tactics have also been very disruptive, in line with the Black Power period. When we think them shutting down highways, some people were very supportive of that, but it’s to the chagrin of others. There were Black Lives Matter rallies that were disrupting the status quo on college campuses. They were even disrupting people’s brunch in New York City and other cities to the chagrin of many yuppies and buppies and elites of all stripes. So when we think about the BLM, it’s really about both that structural critique and the robust, in-your-face tactics that they’re using.” On the movements decentralization of leadership “That’s a good thing in that they’re very similar civil rights organizing vis-a-vis the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Their nickname was SNCC, and when we think about SNCC, we associate them by 1966 with Stokely Carmichael and the call for Black Power. But initially, they were founded by Ella Jo Baker, whos an activist from North Carolina, a feminist, a trade unionist and really one of the most important organizers of the 1960s. And she tells the young people not to be hijacked or come under the thumb of any of the older leadership. Even though Ella Baker’s around 60 at this time, she’s making an argument that decentralized leadership is better than having one central political mobilizer like King, who the movement sort of rises and falls with. So, when we think about the BLM movement, what’s so great about the dozens of chapters that they have is that there isn’t one person who’s leading all of this. That makes it harder for media to identify and set up neat narratives with the movement. But I think that it means that the movement’s going to be much longer lasting because we actually have people doing work and organizing, and it’s not a top down hierarchical leadership structure. “And we’ve seen that through BLM and the Movement for Black Lives policy agenda that was published last summer that talked about ending the war against black people, divesting from criminal justice institutions that incarcerate and lead to mass incarceration and investing in black youth in neighborhoods and communities. I would say we do have several young activists who people know who they are, including Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, DeRay McKesson and others, who are organizing and young people know who they are. But it’s just not the top-down celebrity culture that we saw in the context of the 1960s and ’70s. And remember that also it didn’t work. Very, very famous people didn’t lead to the kind of substantive transformation that people had hoped for because if it had, we wouldn’t have the need for BLM movement 50 years later in 2017.” On what he’d say to people who think the pendulum has swung too far fromgovernment standing up for law enforcement “Well, I’d say that’s absolutely the wrong perspective because the BLM movement really illustrated the depth and breadth of structural racism and state violence through law enforcement against African-American, against Latino and, at times, poor white communities in the United States. If anything, we need dramatic and radical reform that actually goes beyond what Obama’s Justice Department politically could achieve. We have to change and transform this whole society. And in that way, they do go back to Dr. King and when King talked about a bitter and beautiful struggle for social and political change.” This segment aired on April 5, 2017.

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John Ridley defends casting Indian actor Freida Pinto in British … – International Business Times UK

Oscar-winning director John Ridley has explained his decision to cast Indian actress Freida Pinto as the lead protagonist in his new drama, Guerrilla. Speaking at the London premiere of the six-part series which explores what it meant to be an activist within the British Black Power movement of the 1970s Ridley, said that “people that are involved with this show are the most reflective cast and crew you will find anywhere.” The 51-year-old filmmaker, who has been married to his Japanese wife Gayle for 17 years, faced strong questions about race during a post-screening Q&A, with some audience members raising their concerns about what they described as “the erasure of black women”. In the London-based drama, Pinto, who rose to prominence after starring alongside Dev Patel in 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, plays Jas Mitra a nurse turned activist who along with her husband Marcus (Babou Ceesay) liberates a political prisoner and forms a radical underground cell. She is at the forefront of the struggle against a racist police force and the oppression faced by minorities. Guerrilla explores what might have happened had the original Black Power movement used violence and also reminds viewers of the contribution the Asian community made to Britain’s ‘forgotten history’. “It is a question that people have asked and perhaps a question I would have asked, and did, prior to educating myself on the circumstances that happened in this country,” said Ridley. “I cannot entertain a dialogue about whether the lead character should have been black or Asian. The lead character for this show should be a strong woman of colour.” Ridley, who took home the Best Screenplay award at the 2014 Academy awards for 12 Years a Slave, said the mini-series touches on issues of black oppression, police brutality and interracial dating, issues which still resonate till today. He believes it a very appropriate time to hark back to the movement’s routes. Though fictional, Guerrilla is rooted in the realities of an era. “[If] you understand the struggles of that time period, those elements are not made up. Those are real. So if it’s difficult for anybody to understands or accepted easily then I feel I have done my job.” Luther actor Idris Elba stars and also serves as an executive producer for the miniseries, which will air on Sky Atlantic from Thursday, 13 April 2017.

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