THE BLOG
10/06/2011 01:46 pm ET | Updated Dec 06, 2011

Black Power Mixtape -- The Screen Is Burning

Riveting. This collection of interviews, some never seen before of key figures in the Black Power movement, is a new critical document of our country's history. Black Power Mixtape takes us from 1967 to 1975, through the eyes of Swedish journalists who came to the U.S. to film the struggle.

Interviews with Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, and others burn off the screen. Capturing Angela Davis in prison as she awaits a death penalty trial concentrates all the energy of the time into one moment, one face, one voice.

"When people ask me about violence, I just find that absolutely incredible, because what it means is that they have absolutely no idea what black people have gone through," cries Davis, in response to the Swedish journalist's question about violence.

She goes on to describe her childhood in Alabama, full of violent acts against the black community including the infamous 16th Street Church Bombing of 1963. Davis and her family knew the girls and it seared a memory on her consciousness that would transform her life.

The film brings in contemporary voices as well including the rapper Talib Kweli, who was born in 1975 just as the movement was transforming into its next phase. Harry Belafonte forms a critical bridge for the film having been by the side of Martin Luther King, Jr. during the struggle and giving us his views now with 40 years of perspective.

One disturbing scene in the film is the tour bus of Swedish tourists rolling through Harlem. The tour guide describes the "black ghetto" as a place even "other blacks do not visit." Even today you can see the tour buses of Europeans parked near Sylvia's in Harlem. Their fascination with the Other continues.

Thanks to this film, we can all get a small taste of the struggle in its raw, uncut power.