Samuel L. Jackson is quoted as saying that 12 Years a Slave is proof that Hollywood only wants to deal with the past - not the present.
I have to disagree. 12 Years a Slave is not just about the past. There are a lot of lessons in this film about the roots of modern-day racism. This is one reason I am so glad the film was made, and why I think everyone should see it. In order to understand the present, we need to have knowledge of the past.
Jackson went on to say, "I'm glad 12 Years got made and it's
wonderful that people are seeing it and there is another view of what happened
in America". But this is missing the point - it's not just what happened in America. Similar things happened in Africa and the Caribbean, and we are still dealing with the consequences of this now. Click here to read more of Jackson's comments.
Click here for my analysis of 12 Years a Slave. The brutalization inflicted on Black peple during slavery still has implications and still affects us today.
Click here to read my review of The Black Jacobins, C.L.R. James's classic study of slavery and revolution in the French Caribbean.
You want a context for what happened to Trayvon? Read The Black Jacobins, an analysis of the Haitian Revolution, and see 12 Years a Slave.
Want to know why a reporter confused Samuel L. Jackson with Lawrence Fishburne? There is a scene that relates directly to this in 12 Years a Slave.
As African people, we need to get over this tribalistic view of the world. We are facing similar challenges, wherever we are, and we share a common history. This Black History Month/ African Heritage Month, let us remember our common history and work towards our common goals.