The powerful “Free Black Angela and All Political Prisoners” documentary premiered at the Rave cinema theater complex at Baldwin Hills last Sunday and star actress challenged Black parents to not allow the entertainment industry to raise their children.
Pinkett Smith, who is the executive producer of the film, was asked what it will take to get young people out to see the documentary which details elements of a controversial Black Power movement in which activist Angela Davis was at the height of.
“Well I am really invested in the story of Angela Davis and we believe that we think we know her, but we actually do not,” Pinkett Smith told the Sentinel. The idea of a woman who stood for her convictions and went through a lot of pain and turmoil, but rose from the ashes and I think that it is powerful message to send to adults as well as young people.”
Pinkett Smith added, “ I think adults have to be clear about what values you instill in your house fist and foremost. I think that when you establish a certain value system in your home it will dictate how much influence the entertainment business will have on you youth, and I am telling you that my belief is I feel like we are failing our kids in our homes and in our communities first. First a foremost we can’t depend on the entertainment business to raise [our kids] because you know what entertainment is about entertainment. We got take responsibility on a real level about what we are doing in our churches, what we’re doing on the streets and what we are doing at home and then we can talk about entertainment.”
Her language was the most provocative and directed at parents, and she stated that she didn’t have to tell her daughter Willow about the film because she saw it and declared herself at Angela Davis was a real heroine.
Davis, an American political activist, scholar, and author emerged as a nationally prominent activist and radical in the 1960s, as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement despite never being an official member of the party.
Prisoner rights have been among her continuing interests; she is the founder of “Critical Resistance”, an organization working to abolish the prison-industrial complex. She is a retired professor with the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is the former director of the university’s Feminist Studies department.
Her research interests are in feminism, African American studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music, social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. Her membership in the Communist Party led to Ronald Reagan’s request in 1969 to have her barred from teaching at any university in the State of California. She was tried and acquitted of suspected involvement in the Soledad brothers’ August 1970 abduction and murder of Judge Harold Haley in Marin County, California. She was twice a candidate for Vice President on the Communist Party USA ticket during the 1980s.
The documentary details her plight and took eight years and millions od dollars to complete, but Davis said she was not sure what to make of the potential response to the film.
“I don’t know really how it will be receieved,” Davis said. “I don’t think any of us do.”
When asked if she ever though she was live to see the project, her response of solemn.
“You know I had no idea and I know that a lot of my friends did not live through the ordeal and I am doing this for them.”
The film was directed by Shola Lynch and distributed by Jeff Clanagan through Code Black Entertainment.