News

Lauryn Hill Narrates Frantz Fanon-Inspired Documentary On Anti-Imperialism, 'Concerning Violence'

Lauryn Hill narrates Göran Olsson's 'Concerning Violence,' a new Frantz Fanon-inspired documentary on African anti-colonial movements.


Photo: © Lennart Malmer

Lauryn Hill has lent her voice to the new documentary film Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes From the Anti-Imperialism Self-Defense, which covers pivotal moments in the liberation struggles of several African countries from colonial rule during the 1960s and 70s. The project is the latest from Swedish documentary filmmaker Göran Olsson (Black Power Mixtape). The film, which premiered at Sundance 2014, was inspired by Frantz Fanon's iconic anti-colonial text, The Wretched of The Earth (the film takes its name from the first chapter of the book) and uses the revolutionary Martinician philosopher's words as a framework for identifying and understanding modes of neocolonialism still taking place in Africa today.

Running at 85 minutes, Concerning Violence pairs newly discovered 16mm footage of decolonization movements captured by Swedish journalists in Africa over a twenty year period with selections from Fanon's magnum opus narrated by Ms. Hill to illuminate the long-lasting effects of colonial violence and imperialism. The films archival pictures, videos and interviews culled from Swedish public television reels feature appearances by Thomas Sankara, Amílcar Cabral, Robert Mugabe, members of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) and the People's Movement For The Liberation of Angola (MPLA).

Concerning Violence is currently screening in UK theaters and will be making its New York premiere on December 5th at the IFC Film Center. Watch the trailer below.

Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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