Hidden Colors 3: The Rules of Racism- A Review

Hidden Colors 3 poster Image via Tariqradio.com
Hidden Colors 3 poster Image via Tariqradio.com

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


  1. Thanks for the review, I saw it last week at cinema village as well. Loved the film but wished they weren’t so broad on the first few rules, they should have cited much more. Regardless the film was great, and i also understand what you’re saying with the black working class thing. I’m guessing they will work under black capitalists.

  2. Great review! I wish the solutions had been as well thought out the other topics in the film. My jaw dropped when nas stated that rappres opening up a sneaker store would be progressive. I could not believe they allowed that not to be edited out. If they make another documentary i hope it focuses on the accomplishments of black people today. The film makes it seem as though blacks are only in prison or are nonproductive if not incarcerated. I would love to learn about great things blacks are doing besides the negative images in the media.

  3. Thanks Amber! That is one of the shortcomings of the film. The solutions fell short. Thank you for your comment.

  4. On the madam noire website, they say that Tariq is a misogynist and that he blames black women for the failures of the black man. Do you think this affects the way that the movie was presented?

  5. Good morning Tishauna. I have not read that particular Madame Noire article. However, in my opinion, to say that he blames Black women for Black men’s failures is a bit much. I do listen to his podcast, and thats not what he is on.

    I don’t feel it has much to do with his films- which are about uplifting Black people. Despite some of my criticisms, I recognize the good in what Tariq Nasheed is doing. Thank you for your question and commentary.

  6. My friends recommend the movie, but when I was watch the clips they post, I can’t help but say, “Wait a minute…” once in a while. When, I believe, Umar Johnson starts implying that the women’s liberation movement branched from the 1960s civil rights movement, he got his timeline wrong. Some of the first and most effective suffragettes in the 1800s were Black women. Sojourner Truth gave her sensational speech “Ain’t I a Woman” at a women’s rights convention right after the civil war. These women marched in protest marches holding signs, were arrested, and were force-fed with rubber tubes when they wouldn’t eat in jail. If the Civil Rights Movement used these same methods, maybe they were the ones copying.

  7. Mixing the Races.. that’s evolution. They need us( black people) for our good genes and pigments. We need their good credit. I havent done the actual resarch but mixed babies are almost always gorgeous, versus.. well youve seen some of these others races kids.. lol. Plus in 20or so years when there is no pure race, itll be alot harder to discriminate based on that

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