Black History Month is nearly over, but the celebration must go on. And it will, thanks to this trio of new DVDS.
Radicals. Agitators. Troublemakers. Liberators. Called by many names, the abolitionists tore the nation apart in order to create a more perfect union. Men and women, black and white, Northerners and Southerners, poor and wealthy, these passionate anti-slavery activists fought body and soul in the most important civil rights crusade in American history. What began as a pacifist movement fueled by persuasion and prayer became a fiery and furious struggle that forever changed the nation. Bringing to life the intertwined stories of Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimké, Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown, American Experience: The Abolitionists (PBS Distribution) takes place during some of the most violent and contentious decades in American history, amid white-hot religious passions that set souls on fire, and bitter debates over the meaning of the Constitution and the nature of race.
The Abolitionists reveals how the movement shaped history by exposing the fatal flaw of a republic founded on liberty for some and bondage for others, setting the nation on a collision course. In the face of personal risks–beatings, imprisonment, even death–abolitionists held fast to their cause, laying the civil rights groundwork for the future and raising weighty constitutional and moral questions that are with us still.
Vividly bringing to life the epic struggles of the men and women who ended slavery, the three-part documentary interweaves drama with traditional documentary storytelling.
Garrison, the “ultra peace man,” allows his first born to sign up.
Image Entertainment and One Village Entertainment have released BMF: The Rise and Fall of a Hip-Hop Drug Empire, a documentary that explores a criminal enterprise rooted in excess, opulence, drugs and pop-culture.
BMF chronicles the rise and fall of the Black Mafia Family, an illicit drug operation that was once associated with household names in Hip-Hop including Young Jeezy, Slim Thug and Fabolous.
In 15-years the Black Mafia Family (BMF) made close to 300 million dollars trafficking cocaine from Atlanta to Los Angeles. In the Hip-Hop music industry they created a front company called BMF Entertainment, which was a perfect mix of drugs, violence, and “street cred” that makes their story Hip-Hop’s version of The Godfather. This film explores the story of the 15-year investigation by the DEA, FBI and an elite drug task force called HIDTA, which resulted in 41 defendants across the country being charged in one of the largest drug conspiracy cases ever, and includes testimony from media, law enforcement and federal officials involved in taking the drug ring down.
In Soul Food Junkies (PBS Distribution) filmmaker Byron Hurt sets out on a historical and culinary journey to learn more about the soul food tradition and its relevance to black cultural identity. Hurt’s exploration was inspired by his father’s lifelong love affair with the high-fat, calorie-rich traditional soul food diet and his unwillingness to give it up even in the face of a life-threatening health crisis. Hurt discovers that the relationship between African Americans and culinary dishes such as ribs, grits, and fried chicken is culturally-based, deep-rooted, complex and often deadly.
Through candid interviews with soul food cooks, historians, and scholars, as well as with doctors, family members, and everyday people, Soul Food Junkies puts this culinary tradition under the microscope to examine both its positive and negative consequences. Hurt also explores the socioeconomic conditions in predominantly black neighborhoods, where it can be difficult to find healthy options, and meets some pioneers in the emerging food justice movement who are challenging the food industry, encouraging communities to “go back to the land” by creating sustainable and eco-friendly gardens, advocating for healthier options in local supermarkets, supporting local farmers’ markets, avoiding highly processed fast foods, and cooking healthier versions of traditional soul food.