UWI to screen documentary starring Gleaner writer as Garvey
On Thursday, February 23, at 6:15 p.m., The University of the West Indies Mona campus’ Faculty of Social Sciences’ Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work, in association with Black Star Line Films, will present a special Jamaica public premiere of the award-winning documentary African Redemption – The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey.
The Roy T. Anderson film will be screened in the Faculty of Social Sciences Lecture Theatre 1 (SSLT 1), after which Professor Rupert Lewis, Professor Clinton Hutton, Dr Michael Barnett, Steven Golding, HeruIshaka Musa Menelik, Priest Douglas Smith, Paul H. Williams, Anya Thompson, and Minister Clive Muhammad will participate in a panel discussion.
Anderson is a Jamaica-born Hollywood stuntman who has evolved into a producer-director. African Redemption is his third film, and it was produced by Anderson’s New Jersey-based company, Black Star Line Films.
Narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Keith David, African Redemption is a frank exposé of the life, struggles, and impact of the work of a man regarded as the greatest Jamaican ever, Black Star Line Films said. It was shot in Jamaica, Ghana, Canada, The United States, the United Kingdom, and Central America and uses live-action sequences, voice-overs by Paul H. Williams, photographs, and interviews to narrate Garvey’s untold stories and resurrect those already told. Educator/journalist Paul H. Williams reprises the role of Marcus Garvey.
Some of the voices and faces embedded in this 90-minute docudrama are those of Dr Julius Garvey, the younger son of Marcus Garvey; Oscar-winner Louis Gossett, Jr.; Ilyasah Shabazz, the third daughter of Malcolm X and Dr Betty Shabazz; retired US Congressman Charles Rangel; film director Sam Pollard; Jamaican Olympic sprint legend Usain Bolt; Grammy-winner Sean Paul; Dr Michael Barnett, Kwadame Knife; reggae artiste Chronixx; and Dr Carolyn Cooper, among others.
Commenting on the significance of screening African Redemption at this time, the key programmer of the event, Dr Barnett, a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work, said he has long been celebrating February as Black History Month and will continue to do so.
“Marcus Garvey exemplified black pride and saw the benefit of black people learning the truth about their history and their historical accomplishments, just as did other black protagonists, such as the notable Jamaican J. A. Rogers. So what better way to inject black history into the month of February than to have an event centred around a forum that focuses on Marcus Garvey, who happens to be Jamaica’s first national hero,” Dr Barnett said.
Additionally, February 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of the Philosophies and Opinions, which was first published in February 1923 and represents the twin efforts of Marcus Garvey and his second wife, Amy Jacques Garvey. This historical milestone in black history will both be observed and marked by this event.
In terms of the content of the documentary, Dr Barnett considers it to give a more accurate historical portrayal and assessment of Garvey’s life than that of the other (former) significant documentary that has been made about Garvey, Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind, a PBS documentary released in February 2001 that portrays Garvey as a somewhat flawed and bombastic individual as opposed to the champion and hero that he truly was for black people around the entire globe.
Since its virtual world premiere at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival on September 23, 2021, African Redemption has also been screened at many film festivals, including the Zanzibar International Film Festival in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Africa, and the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. It was also screened at the Toronto Caribbean Kiwanis Club as a Jamaica 60 special screening in Brampton and Toronto, Canada.
So far, African Redemption has zoomed in several major awards, including the Best Diaspora Documentary – Africa Movie Academy Awards (2021); Best Historical Documentary – Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival (2021); Best Feature Documentary – Zanzibar International Film Festival (2022); Best Feature Documentary – Charlotte Black Film Festival (2022); and Best Documentary – Greenwood Film Festival (2022). It has also been nominated for Standout Writer, Director, and Producer – Feature Documentary – Reelworld Film Festival (2021); Best Feature Documentary (2022) – Pan African Film Festival; Best Feature Documentary – Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival (2022).