When jarring photos and trailers began to surface for Ava DuVernay’s film Selma, based on the historic fight for voting rights legislation in the U.S., immediate comparisons were made to the protests against police brutality that reached a fever pitch with the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner in 2014. During a press conference for the film, moderators asked the cast about the connection between their film based in 1965 and protests around the country today.
“We have a situation now where what we need now is police reform and the game is rigged again,” says David Oyelowo, who plays Dr. King. “Because there is a conflict of interest if it’s local prosecutors and police. So I would say we need federal intervention again. But also we need to focus on what are the demands. My fear at the moments is that we have this amazing slew of protests but we don’t have someone like Dr. King articulating what it is we want or what it is we need. A clear intention. That is not the say we need a Dr. King in order to do that but what I hope Selma shows what is clearly needed is that clear intention. What are we asking for and how are we going to ask for it in a tactical, politically savvy way. I really hope and pray that our film in some ways shows what was effective in the past and how we can be effective going forward.”
Whether it is a lack of marketing on the part of protest leaders part of lack of due diligence on the part of those who feel like David, the demands drawn up by the organizers of #BlackLivesMatter have not achieved the same level of ubiquity as the movement. Among the demands are an end to the militarization of the police force and redirecting funds from police to education and jobs. You can read them here.
But does there need to be a singular person or smaller, public facing committee to articulate these demands? Let us know on Twitter @WatchLOUD.
One thing that most will agree on is the spirit of inclusion in the creation of the film from top the bottom.
“I also feel as a man one of the things I was so proud of with this film was Ava bringing to light the women in this film. I have a beautiful wife, an incredible daughter, I am a big fan of women. They were marginalized within this movement. Even though it was a movement against injustice and inequality they were just as brilliant, just as bright, just as courageous and tenacious. So one of the greatest blessings of my life was also seeing Ava and Oprah behind the monitor while we were shooting this thing. That to me is definitely a realization of Dr. King’s dream. A beautiful Black woman telling this story beautifully and this other beautiful Black woman getting this story told. This wouldn’t have happened 50 years ago.”
Selma is in theaters in select cities now and will be nation wide January 9th. It will be playing for free in theaters in Selma, Alabama.
Like WatchLOUD on Facebook for the latest in hip-hop news and exclusives!