This weekend, I am going to see documentary film I Am Not Your Negro. The film is based on James Baldwin’s unfinished novel “Remember This House”. It tells the story of race in America. Timely topic….
I am going to see the film for two reasons. One, Jame Baldwin is one of my favorite writers. In my mind, reading Baldwin is an act of courage. His writing has the power to shake and rattle you in ways you are not always prepared for. Reading his work strips you of your defenses and illusions about the what is means to be a Black in America. You can’t think rationally in the face of the internal rage or the debilitating sadness . He demands you feel and see. His writing is beautiful.
Second reason is Raoul Peck. Peck is is an Oscar-nominated Haitian filmmaker. In late 2014, my boss, documentary connoisseur, came into the office raving about a film called Fatal Assistance. He knew I would be interested because my family is from Haiti and the film discusses the what happened in the aftermath the 2010 earthquake. Fatal Assistance shows how humanitarian aid can cause more damage then good.
I went to see the film and it was a gorgeous and gut-wrenching. It confirmed the various stories told at familial gatherings. That many of the NGOs didn’t know what the hell they were doing and have left the country in chaos. The movie was quite enlightening and made me question how helpful are aid organizations if first place.
When I heard he directed I Am Not Your Negro, I knew I was going to see it. Between Baldwin and Peck I am pretty sure, I am going to be shook, angry and sad. I am also going to need very large drink.