Recently, musical superstar and social critic/activist, Janelle Monáe and civil rights icon, Ambassador Andrew Young engaged with students, press and influencers at a private screening of the new James Baldwin documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, which was just recently shortlisted for the Oscars: and recently nominated for a NAACP Image Award for “Best Documentary”.
Hosted by famed visual artist and scholar, Fahamu Pecou, the evening kicked off with a special presentation by Janelle Monáe who shared background on a special connection that her label, Wondaland Records, has to James Baldwin and his work. She then recited a moving excerpt from Baldwin’s Notes from a Native Son, which set an empowering tone for the event.
In the building were: Egypt Sherrod (HGTV’s “Flipping Virgins”); DJ FaDelf (Celebrity DJ, Author and Motivational Speaker); Jack A. Daniels (Psychotherapist, 5x Bestselling Author and Host of FYI’s “Black Love”); Marshawn Evans (Author, NBC’s “The Apprentice”); Christopher Hicks (Director, Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment); Jerika Head-Stewart (Founder, Hat-titude Big Hat Brunch) and many more!
At the end of the screening, the film received a standing ovation, which was the perfect setup to the final highlight of the evening – an intriguing talkback panel discussion moderated by Morehouse Cinema, Television and Emerging Media Studies (CTEMS) Director, Dr. Stephane Dunn and featured Ambassador Andrew Young; Clark Atlanta University African American Studies Professor, Dr. Daniel Black; Morehouse College Asst. Professor of English, Dr. Francine Allen, Georgia Equality Field Organizer, Rob Woods and Fahamu Pecou. The discussion explored everything from the past and present of race relations, the countenance and impact of James Baldwin during the civil rights movement, the relevancy of the documentary to the social issues of today and thoughts on where we go from “here.”
Photo Credit (ATL): Robin Lori