Sat 7 December 2 to 5pm. BFI Southbank, Waterloo tube .www.bfi.org.uk
Tkts 7 Pounds. Book now to get a seat! CLICK HERE
Med Hondo’s hugely ambitious magnum opus was at the time the most expensive African film ever made (it cost $1.35 million). A work of scathing satire and mirthful anger, West Indies has remained largely out of circulation since its premiere in 1979. It’s a story of Western oppression told with the stylistic flourishes of big-budget Western cinema, a distinctly African take on the Hollywood musical, and a one-of-a-kind film primed for rediscovery
Hondo, by the way, is essentially one of African cinema's fathers. His directorial debut, Soleil O, was made in 1967, a year after Ousmane Sembene's first feature La Noire de. Soleil O screened at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival where it received critical acclaim. He went on to direct some 10 feature films, and acted in 18 other
The full title is West Indies: Les Negres Marrons De La Liberte (West Indies: The Black Freedom Fighters, specifically the Maroons). It was undoubtedly a landmark in African cinema; and it's also a film that many probably haven't heard of, and thus haven't seen, but really need to!
It doesn't exist commercially on any home video formats; not even VHS apparently.
A project that took him upwards of 7 years to get made, it's an absolutely stunning piece of work - a $1.35 million (about $4 million today) colour musical epic film, made possible by an international cadre of investors - although much of it came from within the African continent.
Although the story it tells takes place primarily in the West Indies, as the title states, and France. In a nutshell, it documents the experience of African people, starting from the slave trade, to colonialism, to post-colonialism, to neocolonialism, and satirizes French imperialism in both Africa and the West Indies.The fact that it was adapted from a stage play (Les Negriers - The Slavers -by Daniel Boukman) makes sense, because it's filmed entirely on a stage set;
The film was released in 1979 in France, with Hondo a bit ambivalent about showing it to white French audiences who might not appreciate seeing themselves portrayed in an unflattering light. Initial reviews weren't stellar, not surprisingly, although it was reported at the time that black audiences loved and exalted not only the film, but also the Pan-Africanist spirit in which it was made - featuring a cast and crew from across the Diaspora.
But it's a technological and artistic achievement in African cinema history, and not even just continental Africa; the entire diaspora. And it's a shame that Hondo is largely unknown beyond maybe academic and cineaste circles, and that the film isn't widely available.
text from www.shadowandact.com
The Inspiring story of Black People in the Origin and Evolution of Medicine and Surgery !
Sunday 27 October 3pm to 5.45pm. (clocks go back !)
Cottons Caribbean Restaurant, 70 Exmouth Market, Islington EC1 Tube: Angel
Pay on the door. £8.00. This is an intimate venue so its first come, first served. Latecomers may end up standing or not getting in at all !
Black History Walks is working with Cottons Caribbean Restaurant to showcase African/Caribbean history and promote excellent African/Caribbean food. Hear from distinguished scholars have stimulating debates and sample the delicious weekend buffet.
Chocolate, Afro's and Secret History
Double Lecture : The African history of Chocolate with Corinne Dennis PLUS 6000 Years of the Afro Comb with Kandace Chimbiri
Saturday 21 September 5.30pm to 8.30pm. This event will start at 5.30pm, latecomers will miss out and may not get a seat
Admission free if booked via eventbritehttp://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/8008522707/es2/?rank=1 . Donations accepted on the day
Queen Nzinga was an African Queen who fought against the European invasion of southern Africa (Congo/Angola). The Queen Nzinga lecture series will feature African female academics / holders of expert knowledge, speaking on topics of their choice on a monthly basis. The Nzinga lecture series will provide a regular platform for women of African descent to highlight important issues in an academic setting. As a result of these lectures a Black Women in Academia Support Group has been set up.
See previous Queen Nzingha lectures here
Queen Nzingha Lecture (10) Chocolate, Afros and Secret History (Double Lecture)
The African History of Chocolate
Raw Chocolatier Corinne Dennis will take us on a journey through the African history of chocolate. Corinne is a producer of Chocolat Divinite which is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, diabetics and anyone who just adores chocolate. She will cover:
This talk will also include a taste sampling for those in the front rows
6000 Years of the Afro Comb illustrated talk
K.N. Chimbiri will speak on 6,000 years of African combs from their earliest appearance in the ancient Nile valley to the modern ‘Black Fist’ comb. She will provide a comprehensive introduction to African combs and reveal what they really tell us about African history, art, power, business, and economics
Miss Chimbiri has just released her third book, Secrets of the Afro comb, 6,000 years of art and culture to accompany the Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition now on at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Secrets of the Afro comb, 6,000 years of art and culture is the world’s first book on African combs for children. In addition to looking at the Afro comb as an art object, the book also discusses questions such as why African hair is curly. More information available here
The Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition includes hundreds of remarkable combs from pre-dynastic Egypt to modern-day ‘Black fist’ combs referencing the 1970s Black Power Movement, as well as associated images and sculpture showing the wide variety of hairstyles found in Africa and around the world. The exhibition is open now and runs until 3rd November
Chimbiri is the founder of Golden Destiny publishing house which specialises in non-fiction books particularly ancient Black history for children. Her first two books, self-published titles are Step back in time to ancient Kush (an activity book about the ancient Sudan) and The Story of Early Ancient Egypt. Both books are now carried by museums like the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London, the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge, the Neues Museum in Berlin and Barbados’ national museum.
A www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk productionn
(see our other exciting events at www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk )
Black Girls in Film: Representations of African-American Girlhood in Film , 1963 to 2013. Queen Nzingha Lecture 9
Saturday 14 September 6.30pm to 9.00pm. This event will start at 6.30pm, latecomers will miss out and may not get a seat
Admission free if booked via eventbritehttp://blackgirlsinfilm-eac2.eventbrite.co.uk/ . Donations accepted on the day
Queen Nzingha was an African Queen who fought against the European invasion of southern Africa (Congo/Angola). The Queen Nzingha lecture series will feature African female academics / holders of expert knowledge, speaking on topics of their choice on a monthly basis. The Nzinga lecture series will provide a regular platform for women of African descent to highlight important issues in an academic setting. As a result of these lectures a Black Women Women in Academia Support group has been set up
See previous Queen Nzingha lectures here
Black Girls in Film : Representations of African-American Girlhood in Film, 1963 to 2013
On the 14th September from 2 to 5pm the BFI will screen Spike Lee's Four Little Girls in honour of the 50th anniversary of this terrorist incident. www.bfi.org.uk
From 6.30pm Dr Legal-Miller will give an illustrated talk on the representation of the Birmingham church bombing in 1963 and in subsequent years, and how it constructed a contested vision of African American girlhood.
Her talk will also include a brief overview of African American girls in cinema, alongside close readings of the highly critically acclaimed films Precious and Beasts of the Southern Wild, in which the young female protagonists were both Oscar nominated. These readings will be placed in the wider context of race, gender, class, celebrity culture and major historical and contemporary events such as the killings of Emmett Till in 1955 and Trayvon Martin.
Dr Althea Legal-Miller previously gave an Nzingha lecture on Sex, Violence and Civil Rights which can be seen here www.youtube.com/blackhistorywalks
Ph.D., American Studies, King’s College London, 2011
M.A., Contemporary Cinema Cultures, King’s College London, Distinction, 2006