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I Am Not Your Negro

  • Maysles Cinema 343 Lenox Ave New York, NY (map)


Working from the text of James Baldwin’s unfinished final novel, director Raoul Peck (Lumumba, Death of a Prophet, Lumumba, Fatal Assistance, Murder in Pacot) creates a stunning meditation on what it means to be Black in America.

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his new endeavour: the writing of his final book, Remember This House, recounting the lives and successive assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin was not able to complete the book before his death, and the unfinished manuscript was entrusted to director Raoul Peck by the writer's estate.

Built exclusively around Baldwin's words, Peck's I Am Not Your Negro delves into the complex legacy of three lives (and deaths) that permanently marked the American social and political landscape. Framing the unfinished work as a radical narration about race in America, Peck matches Baldwin's lyrical rhetoric with rich archival footage of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and connects these historical struggles for justice and equality to the present-day movements that have taken shape in response to the killings of young African-American men including Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, and Amir Brooks.

Exploring what it means to be Black in America today, Peck reflects on the legacy of racial violence that still permeates the country. In Baldwin's words, "You cannot lynch me and keep me in ghettos without becoming something monstrous yourselves. And furthermore, you give me a terrifying advantage: you never had to look at me; I had to look at you. I know more about you than you know about me. Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." By revealing the deep connections between past and present injustice, I Am Not Your Negro weaves an epic narrative about America's irrational relationship with skin color — a relationship that would be absurd were it not so tragic.

Friday, December 9th, 7:30pm: Q&A with Aisha Karefa-Smart (James Baldwin's niece) and Shola Lynch (director of  Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed and Free Angela and All Political Prisoners and Curator of Moving Image and Recorded Sound, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture).

Saturday, December 10th, 7:30pm: Q&A with Phoebe Robinson (co-host of 2 Dope Queens & NYT best-selling author of “You Can't Touch My Hair.”)

Sunday, December 11th, 7:30pm: A social justice focused Q&A with Dedric "Beloved" Hammond (Violence Interrupter).

Monday, December 12th, 7:30pm: Q&A with director Raoul Peck and Greg Tate (writer and musician, author of “Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader”), moderated by Trey Ellis (novelist, screenwriter, professor, playwright and essayist). A reception will follow the Q&A.

Tuesday, December 13th, 7:30pm: Co-presented by the Studio Museum in Harlem and followed by a Q&A with director Raoul Peck and Nico Wheadon (Director of Public Programs & Community Engagement at the Studio Museum in Harlem).

Thursday, December 15th, 7:30pm: Co-presented by Harlem Pride and followed by a LGBTQ themed panel discussion with Rich Blint (Baldwin scholar, Scholar-in-Residence in the Department of Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute,  Emil Wilbekin (Native Son, a new platform created to inspire and empower Black Gay Men) and Deray Mckesson (Black Lives Matter), moderated by David Bridgeforth (Harlem Pride, Publisher of DBQ Magazine). A reception hosted by Harlem Pride will follow.

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Earlier Event: November 10
Western Disturbances