I Am Not Your Negro

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin.

James Baldwin — the grandson of a slave — was born in Harlem in 1924. The oldest of nine children, he grew up in poverty, had a troubled relationship with his strict, religious stepfather all before becoming a preacher for 3 years and ultimately a celebrated writer (Go Tell It on A Mountain, The Fire Next Time) and activist. In 1979, he wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends – Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript. Now, filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words narrated by Samuel Jackson in possibly his finest performance, and a flood of rich archival material. I Am Not Your Negro connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. In addition to questioning black representation in Hollywood and beyond, it confronts the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders. Baldwin and Peck challenge the very definition of what America stands for.

(US / 2016 / Directed by Raoul Peck)
PG-13/ 91 mins.