I Am Not Your Negro - Streaming on BBC iPlayer, online, 23 June–20 July 2020, free entry - Visit now
With I Am Not Your Negro, filmmaker Raoul Peck takes writer James Baldwin’s final, unfinished project “Remember This House” and turns it into a vital, furious documentary that examines the history of race and representation in America. Now streaming on BBC iPlayer, Peck combines archive footage — including extensive clips of Baldwin himself — and understated narration from Samuel L. Jackson, who reads from Baldwin’s text.
Mirroring the proposed structure of Baldwin’s book, the film follows the lives and assassinations of three of the writer’s close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Peck had only a letter to Baldwin’s agent and thirty pages of a manuscript to work from, yet crafts a wide-ranging film that moves from a critique of Hollywood images to complex articulations of evolving black political thought.
Indeed, clips of the razor-sharp Baldwin tearing apart white supremacists on Dick Cavett or in the Cambridge Union debate will always be compelling, but I Am Not Your Negro‘s success is in the way it provides the context and connective tissue that links the Civil Rights Movement to #BlackLivesMatter for modern audiences.
I Am Not Your Negro - Streaming on BBC iPlayer, online