The Price of Memory (2014) / The Black Panthers Vanguard Revolution (2015)
F orward Ever – The Killing of a Revolution (2013) / BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez (2015)

Phoenix marks Black History Month this October with three films that remind us of why this month is still so important. First on the bill is documentary The Price of Memory (2014), which tells the story of a group in Jamaica who petitioned Queen Elizabeth for slavery reparations when she visited the country for her Golden Jubilee in 2002. Filmed over a decade, this expansive film offers an unflinching look at Britain’s official forgetfulness, telling the story of those who will never forget.

The Black Panthers Vanguard of the Revolution (2015) looks at the controversial political party who protested racial oppression in 1960s America, proving to be an eye-opening and timely film that draws sobering comparisons to demonstrations today. Director Stanley Nelson Jr. examines both the good and bad about the party, in a documentary that will undoubtedly leave you both shocked and empowered.

The internationally acclaimed Forward Ever – The Killing of a Revolution (2013) continues in the same vein, unearthing the many mysteries surrounding the Grenada Revolution and the killing of its then prime minister, Maurice Bishop. Combining rare footage and eyewitness accounts, the documentary offers a fresh take on this momentous time in history.

The month finishes with a somewhat more upbeat documentary on BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez (2015) – and yes, those five Ds are deserved – this woman is a lion in the performance poetry world, challenging racism, sexism, capitalism, and almost every other oppressive system going. The film brings in a wealth of artists to perform her work, (appearances include Questlove and Talib Kweli) paying homage to the innovative artist whilst allowing Sanchez herself to tell us how she became a “woman with razor blades between her teeth.”

Black History Month opens October at Phoenix.

Natalie Beech is a playwright, freelance journalist and Deputy Editor of Great Central.

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