Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975 (2011) MIFF Film Review


I had the wrong idea about this from the start, mostly from the title. I had expected this to be a documentary on either the role of music in the Black Power movement 1967-1975, or a soundtrack to the events of this time. This was reinforced by it being included in MIFF’s always exciting Backbeat collection of music documentaries. It’s not – the music is not discussed during the film at all.

What this documentary shows is a collection of footage over this time filmed by Swedish filmmakers in the US.

This is an interesting documentary. Right from the start, it does not claim to be any kind of balanced documentary, but the account of a time through the eyes of a group of foreigners who see the society differently to those living there. However, it comes across as a fairly comprehensive take on Black Power and other movements where African-Americans fought for equality, both peacefully and with violence.

I’ve read and seen a lot on Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr, Malcolm X and JFK and their roles in striving for equality, and this film rarely covers these figures. This film shows a variety of other activists, most of whom I had barely heard of. The footage is intercut with commentary and interviews with those in the films and other important figures in contemporary American society, such as musician Eryka Badu and poet Sonia Sanchez.

It was a fascinating film, an educational film and a very important film that anyone with any interest in the history of modern America should see.

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