A number of people heard about it but they couldn’t get their paws on it. I finally saw the film version of one of my favorite books, Sam Greenlee’s “Spook Who Sat by the Door.” I think I read the book when I was around 18 or 19. My mentor, friend, boss, and lonely visionary who helped guide and shape my career recommended the book. For years this brotha tried to reach out to the youth and guide them. Yeah, in his own way he was a spook who sat by the door, but people weren’t trying to feel him though. I recommend the book, if you can find a copy, cop it. There’s three left on Amazon. Greenlee wrote his book in 1966, but black community is still rife with the same problems 40 years later. 30 years after the release of the movie, the issues are still real. Too bad a number of us have abandoned the movement towards true liberation and freedom. Greenlee calls out the Bling Blingers, the black bourgeoisie, and the failed black leadership. He calls for grass roots activism of the working class and reflects on the grass roots movement of the sixties that was led by educated elites who did not subscribe to elitism.
Months ago, I had a dream that my friends made a film. That dream was full of powerful symbols that indicating to me that such a project would be uplifting to world weary audiences. Greenlee wrote that two professors from the University of Toledo raised $800,000 to make the movie out of the black community. This sends a positive message about what can be done, he says with the technology now people can make purposeful films. Although Greenlee’s screenplay highlights the violence of black rage against an oppressive society, the message is not about violent action. But, clearly it is a call to action. I feel called. Rent the movie, better yet buy the movie, or track somebody down so you can borrow it.
Here’s a link to a review (warning for those who haven’t read the book: Spoiler!!)
As much as I loved the movie, as a woman I had some problems with the way women were depicted in the film. This is why “Battle of Algiers” is so fresh. Women played a critical role in the resistance movement. In fact, women played an important part in every successful revolution and independence movement. Who do you think ran supplies, hid insurgents, and suffered threats of violence and rape at the hands of enemies? Some of our most visionary activists who have written blue prints on revolution tend to ignore women’s active role in social movements, resistance, and revolution. A number of black women academics have spoken on Fanon and his macho revolution. One of my main criticisms of Fanon’s writings is that he focuses only on men’s roles in revolution. His own personal choices reflect his own inconsistencies. The colonized are not only men of color, but women of color. It appears that black men like Fanon to liberate themselves, while leaving black women in passive roles. To me, Fanon isn’t so revolutionary. He doesn’t acknowledge black women’s constributions, instead he sought as he elaborates in “Black Faces, White Masks,” the white man’s prize, his women. (I know I may be slammed by the brothers, we can enter in to dicourse in the comments and you can correct me if I’m wrong.) So, as I read “Wretched of the Earth,” I couldn’t find a place for me in his vision of world revolution. He dropped some seeds for his students, but even the student must criticize their teachers. This is how we push forward in intellectual development.
I propose a sequel, “The Revolution Pt. 2: the Sister’s Struggle.” Yeah, that plot line is going to be crazy complicated as sistas gotta fight double oppression. She is going to be fighting beside her man, not behind her man. She is going to hold it down in his absence, even when he’s chasing fool’s gold. She’s going to liberate him from those mental shackles. Togther, they are going to be on the vangard of a movement to end imperialism and worlwide oppression. Black women aren’t waiting to be liberated, we just want to be respected partners in the struggle for liberation. I haven’t forgotten my Muslim sistas and all oppressed people world-wide. Each one of us wants to to live lives of dignity and security, but some of us work to ensure that for others.
Peace to all the activists and righteous teachers out there!!