While Hollywood spins its wheels with remakes of historical slave narratives, Hidden Colors 4 builds on the contemporary understanding of the current situation of Black America. The fourth film in the series premiered last Thursday, May 26- with sold out shows in every city. The Hidden Colors documentary series started in 2011 with telling the hidden history of achievement within the African Diaspora, as a counter-position to the focus on just slavery and servitude that we are often force fed.
Directed by best selling author and radio show host Tariq Nasheed, Hidden Colors 4: The Religion of White Supremacy highlights Black history as well as contemporary matters. Among the featured scholars, thinkers, and historians are Prof. James Small, Dr. Llaila O. Africa, Robin Walker, Patricia Newton, Killer Mike, and Anthony Browder. Dr. Kaba Kamene was also in the film, and at the New York premiere to address the crowd briefly before the showing. Having seen all of the films, I would say the major differences between the third documentary and this one is that there is more of an analysis of global white supremacy. The documentary does a good job of delving into history, while incorporating some of the occurrences of 2015, and this year as well. It may not be heartening to think about some of these matters, but you can’t say it isn’t relevant.
What I feel as though this film does better than the third one, is flesh out the beginnings of some collective solutions. Among the things discussed were food co-ops, self-directed learning, and yes, self-defense. These aren’t easy solutions at all, but there is no such thing when your dealing with a system that carries out centuries of oppression. There is one downside that I do feel the need to mention. I feel like at parts, the film gets into trouble when it attempts to deal with issues of homosexuality. I can see how Black gay and lesbian people may feel otherised, by some remarks. Some of the commentators talked about rebuilding the Black family, but what that looks like in the minds of some is exclusionary and hetero-normative. I will say that while these films are often derided as “hotep material” at least we have a collective of people out here producing films for us, not about us. While its important to deal with some of our blind spots, it’s still vital to keep the conversation going no matter how uncomfortable it is.
In various statements that I have made about Black politics here on this space, and offline, I noted that there seemed to be little in the way of preparation for the post President Barack Obama era that we will find ourselves in a little more than 6 months from now. The solutions put forward do take this into account, in my opinion. Although I have disagreed with some solutions put forth in the third film, I welcome people who are willing to put them out there. We need all of our collective brain power to wrestle with what we face as a people, and that’s just reality.
For people who may say this particular documentary series is not all that good, I’d say that this view is shortsighted. I will repeat here what I said to a younger man on 125th street who asked my opinion of the series last summer. Watching the films is a good start, but you should also continue your research and look up the authors and scholars present in this film as well as the previous ones. At the end of the credits, I noticed that some of the information in the film came from the Library of Congress. Overall, I would still recommend that people see Hidden Colors 4 for themselves, in light of what we are being served by mainstream media.
For those who missed the theatrical release, Hidden Colors 4 will be available on DVD June 7th.
Feel free to also look at the past reviews I have done on the Hidden Colors series.