Last night, I attended the New York City premiere of Hidden Colors 3: The Rules of Racism at Cinema Village. This series has gained prominence in the Black community through word of mouth via social media, and broadened its scope of focus in each film. Hidden Colors 1 focused on African antiquities, and HC2 discusses ways in which the Black community has experienced warfare as it pertains to the last 500 years. Hidden Colors 3 delves into white supremacy, and the ways in which its double standards impact on people of African descent today.
Directed by Tariq Nasheed, best selling author and podcaster of the popular “Tariq Elite Radio” show, Hidden Colors 3 is a film steeped in history, but focused on contemporary matters. Of note- at the showing, Dr. Kaba Kamene (formerly known as Prof. Booker T. Coleman) addressed the attendees. In addition to Dr. Kamene, this film featured scholars and authors Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Phil Valentine, Joy Degruy, Umar Johnson, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Carol Anderson, and Shahrazad Ali. To mix it up, we also heard from socially conscious entertainers Dick Gregory, Paul Mooney, David Banner, and Nas.
Hidden Colors 3 intersperses commentary from the aforementioned people, and blends it with archival photos and media from our time. What I enjoyed most is how this film spoke about Black inventors and how their inventions were stolen. After seeing it, you will look differently at Thomas Edison. Not a punch was pulled. In particular, some of the murkiest subject matter was the issue of missing people and organ harvesting. There were some aspects of the film that were equal parts enlightening- and infuriating. The fact that this documentary deals explicitly with Black people finding solutions to their own problems themselves, expect some backlash. There was very little coddling, and the question of whether or not there really are allies of Black people was raised in a way in which is sure to ruffle some feathers.
The few downsides of this documentary was the solutions part towards the end. Perhaps it is just a function of the format, but it felt like there was a great elaboration of the issues, and the history behind them. As for the solutions, not so much. Many of the participants espoused solutions that call for more Black businesses, and entrepreneurship. While I have to say that there is nothing wrong with entrepreneurship, this writer is not quite sold on the notion that Black capitalism will be the savior of us all. While entrepreneurship is a possibility for a smattering of Black people, where does this leave Black working people? This leads into a bigger question, but how can this be a viable solution when our modern economy is contracting and in disarray? How does Black entrepreneurship address a matter like for example, in Detroit where water was cut off for over 100,000 people?
These problems, along with other modern problems like the issues of school closings are outsized in comparison with the good that can be done with Black entrepreneurship. While I am not expecting a film to have a broad scope of working solutions, its important at least in my opinion to question how applicable what is proposed. I recommend it for anyone who has seen the first two films. Overall, Hidden Colors 3 does a good job of mixing history, commentary into a watchable lesson.
-Marc W. Polite