I just saw Will Smith’s new film, “Emancipation” and it is extraordinary. No spoilers in this post and no yt heroes in the film.
For those who always feel that “slave films” are conspiracies to give Us “trauma porn”, I feel the exact opposite. They are films of resistance and Will’s film shows how Our Ancestors resisted with incredible bravery and strategic thinking. I also wonder how much those who disdain “slave films” read *anything* about Our Ancestors’ experiences besides Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass’ *Autobiography*.
Secondly, there are not that many “slave films” in the first place. I’ve asked folks to name such films and usually, they say “Roots” (which came out 45 years ago), “12 Years a Slave” which is Solomon Northrup’s autobiography, “Birth of A Nation” based on Nat Turner’s rebellion, “Amistad” (24 years ago), “Glory” (33 years ago) and “Django” (A fantasy). There are more, of course, but only a few people I know have seen any of them. It is interesting that at their core is the theme of resistance which is what We should be resonating to; and again, I wonder how many of Us who boycott such films have read *anything* about what Our Ancestors went through and how they resisted at so many levels.
In my opinion We dishonor Our Ancestors by willingly ignoring their pain, suffering, AND resistance to enslavement. Like them, We should view Ourselves as being at war with the system of white supremacy. They resisted by poisoning their enslavers, killing them, running away, and sabotaging their enslaver’s resources. We should ask Ourselves, “What are *We* doing in Our resistance to the S.O.W.S”? If you don’t know how to resist, perhaps viewing Will’s “Emancipation” or reading Harriet Jacobs’ “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”, will give you some clues…
Just my $.02
Photographs of Our Ancestor: Gordon