Late ‘60s America was so multi-dimensional, so rife with various and extensive cultural and political facets, it’s difficult to get a true hold on what was really accomplished in that era, since the Civil Rights Movement of the early to mid 1960s. But a LOT surely was accomplished, just as much as so much was left bitterly undone. The “Black Power Movement” of that era, spearheaded by a young, brilliant freedom-rider named Stokley Carmichael, has its roots in the soil sown of decades upon decades of poverty, slavery, abuse of all kinds, and political injustice towards African-Americans in the United States.

It was a scary to be a “political activist” in the US during this time- white or not, but especially not. In 1970, the FBI’s notorious “Cointelpro” (Counterintelligence Program) began to explicitly target groups which it felt were a threat to national security. Everyone who had early dealings with MLK, or participated in the Civil Rights Movement, those thought to be “too left” or commie, (including the early SDS-ers to the first truly “subversive” political organization, “The Weathermen,” and everyone single living person in between) had FBI files on them inches deep. It is now pretty widely accepted that the brutal home assassination of Fred Hampton, one of the leaders of the Black Panthers, was carried out by not only the FBI, but also by the Chicago Police Department, and many other Panthers came to their very early demise in similar situations during the late 60s.

Into this very tumultuous time in the US strode a group of Swedish filmmakers, intending to capture “the real America” for Swedish television. What they managed to come away with, in this never-before-seen archival footage-wonderfully dug out and found-then, cut, sewn together, and visually “mixed” by director Goran Hugo Olsson, is a riveting time capsule of an era. It also presents the truly phenomenal courage these young Americans were forced to display by their political choices, and how tragic the consequence was for many of them.

Finding these very rare interviews (Angela Davis in jail awaiting trial, Carmichael patiently nudging his own mother to describe her own very poor upbringing) of the real movers-and-shakers of the Black Power Movement, along with heart-breaking scenes of everyday life in down-and-out cities such as Oakland, California and Harlem (where a group of tourists on a bus is told that most of its inhabitants are “drug addicts.”), “The Black Power Mixtape” is a documentary NOT to be missed out on this Fall. Other rare interviews in the film include: Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, and Louis Farrakhan. Vimooz wants you to GO OUT and see this film this week… It is a part of U.S. history that no one should forget- and must be seen for the very intense courage, charisma and inspiration of its subjects.

-Francesca McCaffery


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