Film: Systematic history of slavery

Today’s post will be a tv/film orientated blog post. These won’t be just any names that I’ll be throwing out, but ones that have relation to the history of slavery which Black people went through. Don’t be fooled by Kanye West’s ridiculous commentary which he made couple of months ago of “slavery [being] a choice”, because it certainly was NOT a choice. Slavery is a topic which is still very much present in today’s society. Just because it’s not aired on news or any hashtag prayers going circulating social media, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening currently. At times, it is very easy for an individual to forget about slavery and the issues that surround it. Whilst some others claim it to be nothing more than a malicious way for us to paint the White race as ‘racist’ or ‘bad’. By no means am I saying that this is the case for everyone, hence the reason for the word some.

Below I will give you a list of tv series/ films which I have watched myself, which topics around the theme of slavery and raises very problematic racial discrimination topics that came along with it (most happening even today). I will give you a short synopsis of them each, so that you may know the tv/film background. I vouch for you to also give them a watch if they’re a new one for you. Although some are more graphic than others, it is definitely worth the watch as you find yourself being educated from the beginning till the end. Give yourself the chance to feel the emotions that were felt and broaden your knowledge even further.

Roots (2016)

BBC 4 aired a televised version of the famous novel by Alex Haley called Roots. Haley’s novel is a well known historical piece which tells the story of a man named Kunta Kinte who was sold into slavery after being wrongfully abducted from his own home village. This led to him leaving parents, loved ones and friends. The show unravels the emancipation of slavery, the real life treatment and the uprising of slavery. Throughout the adaption, Kunta Kinte fights both literally and metaphorically to keep his name which represents his identity. As the viewer, you go through the journey with Kunta and his life onwards as a slave.


“Chains ain’t right for niggers, Fiddler”

Underground (2016)

I can say that Underground is one of those series that you truly find yourself at the end of your seats, wanting to know whether they will make it out alive and safely, as you get to see the perspective of each characters’ life story. This American series is based on the 1850s slave plantation in Georgia, as a group of slaves work together to attempt their escape. Led by a man of dreams, the group tough it out together, with falls along the way in fight for their freedom. Throughout the 2 season series, you find yourself indulging in a variety of music, laughter, tears and separation. P.S. John Legend is the master behind the soundtrack in this series.


“Remember […] the two masks we’ve got to wear. One for ourselves and one for the white folks”

Belle (2013)

Belle is played by the beautiful Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who may I say plays the character so well, especially on the mirror scene (which gets to me every time). Belle tells the story of an illegitimate mixed race girl who reconnects with her father and suddenly finds herself living under the aristocratic Mansfield’s house due to her father’s work. Belle plays key in the abolishment of slavery, as the role is in relation to the Zong case (slave ship), which her great uncle is foreseen the ruling over. You see the struggles of Belle fitting in as she finds herself too high in rank to dine with the servants, yet too low to dine with her own family.


“We women are but the property of men”

I Am Slave (2010)

The movie, I Am Slave, tells the story of a young girl named Malia who goes through brutality and dehumanisation under a roof in London. Malia was kidnapped from her father during a raid at their home and from then on sold into the brutal world of slavery. The film focuses not only on her journey as a female slave but also her own personal development. The aspect which I really liked was the setting they placed Malia, due to it being contemporary London, it felt more effective as it’s close to home. After I watched this film, it got me thinking about modern day slavery and how it is still a recurrent thing.


“A slave is nothing. You can’t miss nothing”

12 Years A Slave (2013)

Solomon Northup, a man that was born as a free man, finds himself lied and cheated into slavery. A man that gets told that he amounts to nothing more than a Georgia runaway. This adaptation is based on the slave narrative memoir, ‘ Twelve Years a Slave’ (1853), by the man himself of course. In the Southern slave plantation, Solomon undergoes extreme brutality by the hands of his owner. Despite his turmoil, Solomon attempts to keep his identity as a free man, whilst making new relationships along the way with those that show him kindness. This movie is compelling and truly sheds light into the life of slavery; through the onscreen portably, it exercises the grim truth and degradation which slavery brought on for people of colour.


“Survival is not about certain death. It’s about keeping your head down”

That is the end of the 2nd segment to the BHM (Black History Month) series here on my blog. I hope you enjoyed reading the films synopsis and if they peaked your interest at all, go ahead and watch them online. At the very least you can say that you tried right.

Till tomorrow!

Yours Truly,

Melanin Talks x



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