Black Power Movies: Mangrove Review

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If you are the big, big tree,

We are the small axe

Ready to cut you down,(well sharp)

To cut you down

~Bob Marley

The black arts and theater play  a huge role in the African-American community. Movies like Black Panther have given us a beacon of hope for the black man.  A super hero leading the nation of Wakanda in  natural resources like vibranium in producing technological advancements for it’s society.  A black mans purpose  not confined to a prison cell or resting in a cemetery . Hidden figures showcasing the brilliant minds and talent of black women working at NASA. Positive representations produced by Hollywood showcasing African Americans in a positive light.

Then there are those movies that portray the plight of the black race. The struggle for racial equality remains an enduring marathon.  Injustice has led to the outcry of political activism in the fight for freedom. In the 60’s and 70’s segregation was the barrier that prohibited blacks from unifying in communities.  No colored people allowed symbolizing hate due to one’s color of skin.

Much of what Hollywood has scripted about blacks has been centered around events that have taken place in America. Racism is a global disease that has plagued the black race from all different cultural backgrounds.  Steve McQueen’s Mangrove transitions the focus from racial oppression in America to London. Mangrove shows one black entrepreneurs struggle to provide a sense of community in his black owned restaurant. The  black establishment is under constant threats and raids by the London police.  The solution to address the issue, is also the problem. Fighting the power is what the Mangrove 9 organize to do in a protest against racial hatred. While these political activists were never tried in court, they truly never won the freedom to own their rights in establishing their own community.

Movies like Mangrove teach us the following:

1.We must educate beyond the racial climate in America

Many African Americans want to leave America in search for a better world where they are accepted and able to live freely. Where does this world exists? It is just a dream that will never materialize?  In 1965, Malcolm X gave a speech where he stated “racism was not just an American problem, but a world problem.”  During Malcolm X travels he was denied entry into Paris. No matter where the black (wo) man decides to travel, they will face racial discrimination of some sort. One cannot simply escape the struggle by changing their area code.


2.Segregation does not stop racial hatred and oppression

In a society that limits the progress of advancing black forward, ownership is everything. Building assets and controlling capital enables the black community to offer it’s own resources and support to its black citizens. With ownership comes destruction. The  black community being able to do for themselves only elevates the hatred and the dismantling of us being able to control our own destiny. In America Black Wall Street is a great example of this. Across the globe in London, Mangrove was closed due to gentrification and constant malicious raids imposed.

Mangrove highlighted a critical lesson that integration nor segregation will enable blacks to live socially and economically free. In the freedom struggle race where are we running to?


3.Knowledge is required to fight the system

One’s knowledge of their constitutional rights is imperative to fight the racial injustice infringed upon them. The protests are ineffective without the proper educational tools that lead to sustainable change.


Black arts entertainment and movies play a huge role in the African American community because they influence the culture. Wakanda uplifted the racial esteem of the black community. Hidden figures had young black girls aspiring to become scientists and engineers. What will Mangrove inspire the black community to do?

Black entertainment should showcase black history more broadly to liberate and influence the black culture to do more for themselves in the struggle.

By no means should we leave it up to Hollywood to educate us on our history. We must all play a part in learning, exploring, and creating black history. Black history is our history. We must own our history!

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black communities, black entertainment, Black History, black movies, black panther, black wall street, Bob Marley, hidden figures, mangrove, movie review, political activism, race, segregation, small axe, Steve Mcqueen, wakanda

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