Over the weekend I saw the long-awaited movie that has just about everyone talking and praising. Let me just say, from the opening scene to the closing scene, the events that occur and the dialogue that surrounds it is sure to keep you engaged throughout the entire movie. Selma is a film that everyone, despite skin color, should see as it addresses injustices that are still taking place in today's society. Selma was directed by the phenomenal Ava DuVernay and stars David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Common, Oprah Winfrey, Wendell Pierce, and many other familiar faces that portray significant roles in the film and in history.
It is a well-written piece of work that relives the groundwork that was put into the Civil Rights Movement, the horrifying encounters of that fateful Bloody Sunday in Selma Alabama on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the conflict between politicians and Civil Rights leaders, and includes the stories of people who are commonly not included in the history books. It's so imperative that the youth especially see this film that businesses in the Metro Detroit area have purchased more than 200,000 tickets for middle and high school students to see the film over Dr. King's holiday. As I implore you to go see this film, here are three more reasons why you should support it:
- Selma narrates the struggles that ensued in the 1960’s as Civil Rights leaders and concerned citizens of the state of Alabama fought tirelessly to gain equal voting rights for people of color. Voting is a right that many of us take for granted, today. There is a scene in the beginning of film when Dr. King and Lyndon B. Johnson are discussing how technically, people of color had the right to vote, but were still being denied the opportunity. King addresses the horrific bombing of a church that killed four little Black girls, and how those responsible have not been convicted because they’re protected by White officials, chosen by White electorates, and freed by all White jurors. Why were there no Black jurors? Because you can’t serve on a jury if you are not registered to vote. So whether we think our vote counts or not, we have lost sight of what so many before us were fighting for, and have lost the fight within us to change it.
- The Civil Rights Movement was about more than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his efforts. I fear that some school systems are not educating students past Harriet Tubman, The Underground Railroad, bus boycott’s, Rosa Parks, Dr. King, and other notable names that appear in the history books. What Selma reminds us is that there were so many other influential leaders on the front lines, boycotting, impacting change, and marching with King, like Hosea Williams, Ralph Abernathy, Annie Lee Cooper, Diane Nash, James Bevel, and organizations like the Student’s Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and many more.
- Ava DuVernay did an amazing job directing this film! In the scenes where violence and pain are being inflicted upon the peaceful protesters, the speed of the scene is dramatically slowed down. In those moments you can see their facial expressions as they grasp the reality of what is occurring, hear their painful moans echoing from the blows, and feel a modicum of the torment that they endured.
The day after seeing this movie, I had an interesting conversation with my father. He asked me how the movie was and I shared briefly my views. We began to talk and he started to tell me how he remembers race relations as a young boy in the south. My father hails from the small town of Perry, Georgia. He said that he remembers reading “White’s Only” signs when he was out with his mother, my grandmother, and not understanding what it really meant. He also recalled having to use a separate entrance as a young adult and not being able to be serviced in the same facility as Whites, even after serving his country in the Vietnam War. Hearing my father's account of segregation in the South has made this all even more real. I admittedly have been naive to the concept of racism. It was not until the alarming, overwhelming, and numbing amounts of racial injustices in recent news that I have literally opened my eyes. It happened. The enslavement of a race of people, the lynching, the police brutality (still happening), social/economic/political/racial injustices...it all happened, and it's past the time for us to realize that and make a conscious effort to educate ourselves, our children and loved ones, and figure out a way to get involved and impact change as the leaders before us have done.
Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts? Where do we go from here?
Also, congratulations to the film on all of it's nominations. Have you heard the movie's lead single, Glory by Common and John Legend? Check it out, below.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these photos. These images were obtained from a Google image search and from different news outlets.