12 Years a Slave won three Oscars last night including Best Picture and for this I’m really pleased for producer/director Steve McQueen, Lupita Nyong’o (winner Best Supporting Actress), Chiwetel Ejiofor (nominee Best Actor) and everyone else involved in the production. It’s quite a visual film and have to say that when I saw it early January, I was so enraged by the brutally and inhumane treatement of black people, that for the first time ever I felt deep hatred in my heart for anyone involved or who has directly benefited from slavery.
Now this wasn’t my first slave film. Starting with Roots, I’ve seen most of the high profile slave films including: Glory, Amistad and Django Unchained. None of them had me mumbling in the theatre or walking out cursing and giving white folks the evil eye. This left me somewhat shaken as I’m more about the individual. Meaning, I try not to make sweeping generalisations or decisions about associating with people based soley on their race as I don’t want others making (negative) generalisations about me because of my race.
That all being said, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is perhaps also partly responsible for my rage. I’d seen the Madiba biopic a week prior and the sense that history just repeats itself was just too much. Particularly as there are millions of people around the world today who continue to be enslaved. And I suppose it’s why these sorts of films need to be made. We need continual reminders even though they are often so difficult to watch; especially with a view to spurring on politicans and other civic leaders to take action. Something really needs to be done. No one in the modern age should be living in slavery.