I Am Not Your Negro Review

James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His writing on racial discrimination and experiences make it a poignant impact more so in the times now that we live in. He wrote for the world to know what the colors can endure, he contributed to the civil-rights movement and his work always remained a source of deep and demanding insight and beauty. He is experiencing a national revival. The audience can appreciate Baldwin, know him and understand his work and the reasons behind it yet his different sexuality is only a passing reference although it formed or deformed his life in many ways than one.

Director Raoul Peck’s powerful documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, received critical acclaim and a Best Documentary Oscar nomination.

Around 1979 well before his death in 1987,James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, “Remember This House.” The book was to be a revolutionary, intimate, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. all of whom were assassinated within five years of each other. He wanted their lives, stories, interactions, clashes and ideologies to be in the manuscript. He left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript and the filmmaker Peck picks up from the next page, envisions the unfinished book and finished it as a Samuel Jackson movie.

I Am Not Your Negro’s narrative voice comes from this unfinished manuscript, in addition to Baldwin’s famous published works and television appearances. Not ceding to family members, friends, and experts it relies almost exclusively on Baldwin’s writings, read by Samuel L. Jackson. This documentary narrates Baldwin’s unique ability to expose the ways anti-black sentiment constituted not only American social and political life but also its cultural imagination, the love for racial stereotypes of black is evil and white is pure.

This is 2017 and yet, this movie is a reflection of how the American movie industry has not changed in undertones, they still love relying on objectification and racial stereotypes and thrive. We are forced to believe that the country is the greatest supporter of freedom, integrity, democracy, and happiness. This is contemporary reality. From violence in 1960 to violence in 2016, black deaths occurred there and then and now and here thus the two ages and eras meet.

James Baldwin is no more but everything else is.

A very a public spokesman and leader of African Americans civil-rights movement, a queer black man he was attacked from all sides for his race, thoughts and his sexuality. Watch this, watch it as a human being, no judgments because we are reliving those times of global racial dilemma.

Know this genius writer, somebody who spoke about his life for national consumption and for the world to know what being black was. Watch because after this you will wonder if the world have indeed moved ahead or is going around in circles. I Am Not Your Negro is prophetic film. This offers no solution, but holds up a mirror which says that development has been external and superficial and not internal and elemental.


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