Be black, baby! An overview of Black Power on film
by Ashley Clark
The revolution was not televised, but has it been filmed? With BFI Southbank screening a restored print of Herbert Danska’s Right On!, a powerful document of radical black politics in America at the end of the 1960s, Ashley Clark looks back over cinematic representations of Black Power.
The BFI’s African Odysseys strand exploring the African roots in world cinema continues with an extremely rare screening of Herbert Danska’s Right On! (1970). Filmed guerilla-style across various lower Manhattan locations, it features the original lineup of pioneering rap group The Last Poets performing 28 pieces adapted from their legendary appearance at New York’s Paperback Theater in 1969.
Rarely seen in the last 30 years, it was recently restored (from its original 35mm negative) by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and arrives in London fresh from a short NYC run earlier this year. An exceptionally entertaining mixture of music, poetry and politics, Right On! offers a valuable window onto the era’s artistic representation of the Black Power movement, which reached its peak in the late 1960s and early 70s. But what, exactly, do we mean when we use the term ‘Black Power?’ [Continue reading article.]