UC Berkeley Library

African Diaspora

Art of Darkness.

The slaves of the Caribbean contributed not only to the wealth of their masters, but also to the cultural heritage of the British Empire. Documented through letters, paintings and poetry, the eighteenth century is shown to be both an age of high culture and of cruelty. Film shows how the art of the period romanticized the servitude of the plantation blacks as they were depicted as precious, exotic ornaments, even as they were being brutalized in real life. 1987. 52 min.

Art of Haiti: The Primitive Painters

Explores Haiti's modern art movement, a fusion of Haiti's African roots, French Colonial past and present day coexistence of voodoo and Catholicism. Juxtaposes scenes of contemporary Haiti with paintings of such artists as Rigaud Renoit, Andre Pierre, and Hector Hippolite. c1983. 26 min.

Bahia, Africa in the Americas.

Elements of African culture are powerfully expressed in the food, art, dance, and most importantly, the Candomble (Umbanda) religion of the Afro-Brazilian majority of the state of Bahia. 1988. 58 min.

Baldwin's Nigger

A striking portait of the writer James Baldwin at his sharp-witted best, addressing a group of radical West Indian students in 1960s London. Accompanied by comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, Baldwin discusses what it means to be black in America, comparing it to the experience of the British Black community. Produced and directed by Horace Ove. 1969. 44 min. Online Access through LFLFC .

Before Reggae Hit the Town.

Discussion of the roots of reggae and ska in the music and dance of Jamaica's traditional African religion, with scenes of religious ceremonies and sacrifices; also contains scenes of Rastafarians and their music. Filmed and recorded in the parish of St. Ann, Jamaica. c1990. 22 min.

Black Athena

Reviews evidence that the culture of ancient Greece had its origins in Africa and the East and that the West should recognize what it owes to Black and Eastern cultures. 1990. 60 min.
Related web sites:
Description from California Newsreel catalog
The Black Athena debate (web site)

Black Music of Brazil.

Street tour of Brazil including visits to ghettos of Rio, Samba schools preparing for Carnival and the African-rooted Bahia region. Includes interview with superstar Gilberto Gil, probing the political impact of his music, and performancesand conversation with other Brazilian performers. Finally there's The Capoeira dancers, performers of a unique martial arts dance which originated in Angola. Film surveys many styles of music of the country including Samba, bossa nova and others. 1990. 50 min.

Blacks Britannica.

Presents an analysis of racism within the context of British history and the post-war crises of the British economy. Produced by David Koff and Musindo Mwinyipembe. c1978 56 min. [preservation copy]

Brazil: An Inconvenient History

Few realize that Brazil was actually the largest participant in the slave trade in the New World. Forty percent of all slaves that survived the Atlantic crossing were destined for Brazil and at one time half of the population of Brazil were slaves. It was the last country to officially abolish slavery in 1888. This production charts Brazil's history of slavery using original texts, letters, accounts and decrees, with commentary by historians, anthropologists and others who recount the effect of centuries of slavery on Brazil today. 2000. 47 min. ;

Candombe: Afro-kultur e Uruguay.

Fernando Nunez, a black man, a musician, and a maker of drums, sees himself as the heir to "Candombe," an important social and cultural legacy from his slave forefathers in Uruguay. However, the official history and culture of Uruguay continues to marginalize expressions of black culture. Fernando Nunez and his friends from Barrio Sur, a back street quarter of Montevideo, fight to keep these important cultural roots alive in the consciousness of the Uruguayan people. 1994. 17 min.

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