25 August 2014

Death of a Nation: This Poetic Spoken-Word Response to Ferguson Will Blow Your Mind

Almost a 100 years ago in 1915, the film Birth of a Nation shocked America with its portrayal of black men (particularly) as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women.

Death of a Nation, a powerful, eloquent response to the events in Ferguson by Matt Berry (featuring Julian Walters, Ngijol Songolo and Koko Songolo) usurps the movie’s title and asks us some difficult and perhaps uncomfortable questions.  It also reaches out to a generation of young black Americans - and the nation to which they should by all rights feel integral - in crisis. A dream deferred (from the poem and a melancholy echoing Martin Luther King Jr's most famous speech) makes a good subtitle for this extraordinary piece, filmed by the poet and his friend Sachin Dharwadker. I am guessing you will watch this more than once. It speaks not just to young, black Americans but to all of us.