direction: Roger Ross Williams | game time: 91 minutes | year: 2023
Professor Ibrahim X. Kendi’s project is clear: addressing systemic racism in the United States. He first succeeded with bestsellers. Now he himself appears on the scene in the film adaptation of the same name Sealed from the beginning. Armed with confronting facts, he reveals, with the help of numerous colleagues, how racism lies at the heart of American history, and how this trauma continues to seep into the present.
The documentary was directed by Roger Ross Williams, who was the first African-American man to win an Academy Award. In many of his works, he defended the rights of African Americans, including… Sealed from the beginning Provides a classic example. It poignantly showcases some of the most outspoken black scholars in the United States, who meticulously dissect the myth of black inferiority within the country.
According to the speakers, the social condemnation of African American people is due to racist stories that have continued to spread across the United States for generations. From the human qualities of King Kong to the wealth of white Disney princesses, the racist underpinning that continues to underscore black-white discrimination can be identified in every nook and cranny of the American media system. Williams’ astute direction always manages to ensure that the abuses of the present, depicted through racist expressions on television and social media, connect in an accessible way to a long history of injustice.
Using dramatic montages, accompanied by hip-hop music, both sides of cultural narratives are presented: on the one hand, the stereotypical bias that runs rampant in American culture, and on the other hand, the painful consequences that these assumptions bring. These racist ideas are recognizable in different time periods, and are often easily forgotten today. Therefore, the speakers are not averse to dragging these romantic images of the past through the mud. Even American presidents were not spared this due to their part-time work as the largest slave owners. In this way, the documentary rewrites American history without skipping the harsh chapters.
Dialect Sealed from the beginning It remains constantly unsettling and activating, with anger and sadness as the main emotions. Again and again, the viewer is confronted with difficult truths, without having the opportunity to look away. This opportunistic rhetoric eventually begins to cloud the message, making moving images of activists from the past a breath of fresh air. For example, the poignant life story of writer Harriet Jacobs, who had to hide from her master in a creepy place for seven years, shows how rewarding it is to let history speak for itself.
Sealed from the beginning It can be seen on Netflix.
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