"I Am Not Your Negro" Opening Soon at the Circle Cinema

Feb 27, 2017

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we're discussing the Oscar-nominated documentary feature, "I Am Not Your Negro," which opens locally tomorrow (Friday the 24th) at the Circle Cinema. Indeed, our two guests today -- Hannibal Johnson (a Tulsa-based author and attorney) and Bob Jackson (an Associate Professor of English here at the University of Tulsa) -- will both be speaking about this film, and co-leading an audience-wide discussion about it, tomorrow night at the Circle. As was noted of this widely acclaimed film in The Hollywood Reporter: "'I Am Not Your Negro' is a biography of [writer James] Baldwin only in passing; it is more an attempt to link the ideas of three assassinated American leaders -- Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. -- to each other and to their social context. Above all, [the film] is a searing and topical indictment of racial prejudice and hatred in America that makes for uneasy viewing and is not easily forgotten. This is the kind of vividly intelligent documentary that will shine brightly at festivals.... In the body of [filmmaker Raoul] Peck’s work, which runs from the piercing Haiti tale 'The Man by the Shore' to several docs made for HBO, this film marks a welcome return to his early interest in experimentation with form and the free-flowing juxtaposition of words and images.... America’s history of racism, violence, exploitation, and injustice comes through with chilling clarity. Baldwin also returns time and again to gay rights, another of the great themes in his writing and the subject of a thick FBI file on his activities in the 1960s. Baldwin [once] called the U.S. 'a complex country that insists on being very narrow-minded.' While he rues his youthful identification with white heroes like John Wayne, he doesn’t believe all whites are devils, but says that racism is the source of America’s emotional and moral poverty and that 'apathy and ignorance are the price of segregation.' Baldwin died in 1987, but Peck continues his thought to include contemporary events like Ferguson."