"Addressing what might be thought of as standard historical and contemporary subjects with startlingly radical means. . . . Göran Hugo Olsson's Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 is a collage of archival footage recorded in America, mostly by Swedish journalists, in the era of African-American militancy. The images, accompanied by present-day voice-over reflections from historians, rappers, artists, and veterans of the era's racial politics, offer revelations about events and personalities we thought we understood completely."—The New York Times, reviewing the Black Power Mixtape documentary
"We have much to learn from these visionary organizers who sought to redefine and re-imagine democracy, whose sense of empowerment derived from the belief that the people could be the architects for change."—Danny Glover, from the preface
Featuring images and transcripts only recently discovered in the archives of Swedish television, here is the Black Power movement as you've never seen it. Based on the award-winning documentary of the same name, Black Power Mixtape presents powerful interviews with Stokely Carmichel, Angela Davis, and others who shaped the struggle of their day. Mixed with the contemporary reflections of leading activists, musicians, and scholars, this book aims to introduce a new generation to the legacy of Black Power.
Includes historical speeches and interviews by: Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, Emile de Antonio, and Angela Davis.
Includes new commentary voiced by: Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Harry Belafonte, Kathleen Cleaver, Angela Davis, Robin Kelley, Abiodun Oyewole, Sonia Sanchez, Bobby Seale, and Questlove.
"Right now, America is stumbling all over itself because it's like a teenager... the key of it is you must protect the concept and ideals of America." (1975 chapter)
"To me, the worst crime that can be committed on mankind is really ignorance." (questlove)
"Black is beautiful, but black isn't power: knowledge is power."- Mr. Micheaux (bookstore owner)
This is a fairly slim volume and doesn't necessarily give a lot more details or history you can't find in the documentary film of the same name (I'll copy and paste my review of that from another website here). But there's knowledge to gain from this and that's enough; I actually don't recall the Shirley Chissum material from the film so that by itself is worthwhile and useful. It's a sobering read because it's primarily the chronicle of constant struggle, with deaths (ie MLK, Fred Hampton), prison (most of the major black panther subjects, and of course Angela Davis in the best chapter 1972) and drugs. The outsider perspective- which in essence should give a lot of white people all over pause in America and throughout the world - is crucial for thus ongoing story of repression and political torture.
(Doc review): "Angela Davis, of course, gets 50 stars, and after going through James Baldwin's non-fiction this documentary lets me know clearly I have to go to her written work next.
This is largely some essential viewing if only to get the perspective from what is a European, Socialist media that would put the "negative" images on their screens not to make America feel bad but because, you know, that's what a press should do, to hold people and institutions accountable (if the US press did this at the time, as far as the Black Panthers and Black Power movements, it was minimal if not negligible coverage, or it showed the people in the organization and movements in their own negative connotations). And when I say "socialist" I mean that however you think it does, but for me it is that from Sweden there should or could be a sense of... What do the underrepresented and minority populations have to deal with? The answer bottles up into white people, but there's also class and other societal issues here.
At first, I was thrown off when it veered away in the later years it was covering to focus less on the usual Black Power figures and to look at the drug "war" (oh and that word "war" gets broken down rightly in one of the voice over interviews recorded in 2010), and on Louis Farrakhan, friend* of the Jews, who became head of the Nation of Islam in the mid 70s. But these sections actually do give some perspective about what black communities were dealing with, were dealt with, as far crime and poverty still being a major issue.
It is a documentary that goes all over the place, and it ends in 1975 without giving anything more about what happened in that year before it moves in to the concluding remarks, though I don't know if the filmmakers (or archivists really, as everything here is just footage from the period, with some new audio from musicians and scholars, including from Angela Davis, in 2010) would say this is meant to be a definitive look at the story of the Black Panthers or Black Issues or everything that goes with it.
That would be much too massive for a 90 to 100 minute doc. All they can do is an overview, some of the critical turns, the focus on what the Black Panthers were really about as opposed to what was the perception for many years (including, perpetuated the most, by the FBI and CIA), and the legacies of MLK, Malcolm X, Davis, Huey Newton and so on.
It's important, informative, messy, and absorbing. And really really sad.
A super-interesting blend of primary documents and commentary, this companion to the Black Power Mixtape documentary includes all the content present in the film alongside additional material that enhances Olsson's original scope. While nothing here is particularly exhaustive, this work functions as a bricolage in the same vein as Baldwin's I Am Not Your Negro. Those new to learning about the Black Power Movement may find this incredibly interesting but those more familiar are more likely to find transcripts of the documentary's footage useful reference points for the book's largest ideas. Scholars who want to use the film for work will also find the book useful as some of the timestamps accorded to footage the film are revealed to be inaccurate here.
This was a very informative book. It’s a supplement to a documentary by the same name, produced by a team of Swedish journalists who documented the journey of the Black Panther Party. I haven’t seen the documentary, so the format of the book seemed a little stilted to me. But I learned a lot and got to see multiple perspectives. There were a ton of interviews with members of the BPP as well as Civil Rights Activists and Black lawyers, writers, and activists. I enjoyed being educated and evaluating my own internal bias about the BPP based on how I learned about it from a white-perspective full of privilege and power in a Virginia public school. It reaffirmed that I believe I am doing right by Christ being a progressive and agreeing with left-winged politics.
What a well-crafted mixtape... Olsson's background in film serves him well. Loved the dialogue he creates between interview transcripts from the early 70s and from 2010, which proves that the history is as relevant as ever. So cool to get Angela Davis's reflections on her own past speeches. Really great primer on the Black Power movement.
a fine companion to the excellent documentary, which really impressed me. want to see that again. but this is an excellent work in print documenting the mostly underground activity of civil rights movement that took radical means to bring attention - or wake complacent privileged people - to the injustice that in many ways remains today.
Quick read. Held my interest greatly. Learned a lot about civil rights, power players, assassinations and more. Great insight by musicians and artists of today in relation to key points and players of the civil rights movement.
This is a companion piece to the documentary of the same name. Basically, and strangely, Swedish media captured the Black Power movement in print and on film more than virtually any other country, the U.S. included. Who would have guessed? At any rate, there's a decent amount of footage of some of the giants of this movement - Stokely Carmichael, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and Eldridge Cleaver are featured and their words still resonate, especially in these dark times. Arguably, this is a lost era (maybe underrepresented is a better way to describe it) of the Civil Rights movement. It's interesting to hear them articulate their frustrations in such a rational way. I think that this part of history is incorrectly pegged as violent and malicious. Sure, there are some harsh words thrown out there, but there's also a lot of respect for the non-violent movement of MLK. Malcolm X is definitely the catalyst for the Black Power line of thinking though, and rightfully so. Overall, I would say that this may be a bit much for some, but the film and book combo was great for me.
This book tells a story I did not know from a period of my own country's history. This history happened in the years leading up to my birth and in the first years of my life. Living outside Detroit, MI, I was close to some of the locations where this history played out. Yet, because I am white, it has been the privilege of my experience to learn this history or ignore it. For many years I ignored it. I am glad to finally, at 46, pay attention to this aspect of American history. This book will be a springboard for me to read more along these lines.