Monday, July 9, 2012

Dante James chosen to produce and direct documentary on the life of Huey P. Newton

It takes a lot of black power to make a black film.  It’s especially true when the subject of the film is a noted black revolutionary.  Green power runs from movies about black power.
My good friend Dante James has been chosen to produce and direct a feature documentary on the life of Huey P. Newton. James was contacted by Fredrika Newton, the widow of Newton and President of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, and David Hilliard, executive director of the foundation, to tell the story of the man who helped organize the Black Panther Party.
James, who lives in Durham, has one of those resume that keeps people knocking at his door. He received three Emmy nominations for his work on the PBS series Slavery and the Making of America, and was awarded an Emmy as the series producer.  He presented the story of the jazz age in Paris between 1920 and 1945 in his critically acclaimed documentary Harlem in Montmartre, a Paris Jazz Story. James’s short film The Doll is based on a short story by Charles W. Chesnutt.  James is one of the best in the business, so it’s no surprise he been asked to tell Newton’s story.
Despite all the accolades packed on his impressive resume, the green power hasn’t knocked as hard as it should to fund the work of James.  It’s one of those perplexing matters that keeps me shaking my head and rolling my eyes.  When a black person decides to tell a black story, the mighty dollar is slow to show up.  When white filmmakers document black stories the money pours from places you never knew existed. 
It hurts telling that truth, but I’ve been around the block of documentary film making long enough to know it’s not just my imagination. As the young folk say, I’m not hating on white film makers who decide to tell the story of black people.  What disturbs me is how they hold an advantage in raising the capital to complete those projects.  Even a person with James's credentials has to beg to get the job done.  Something stinks in the room.
Over the next 30 days I will be sharing more with readers regarding the project. I will share with you James's thoughts on the documentary as we gets closer to its completion. But, before I talk to James, we have some unfinished business.  We need some green power to get the project started. 
So, stop what you’re doing, after you finish reading of course, and go to kickstarter to make a contribution. The link is at the end of this blog post.
If you’re one of those high rollers willing to make a contribution with multiple zeros, contact James at 919-475-9879 or You can also contact Hilliard at the foundation at davidhilliard66@gmailcom or 510-507-03853.
This is a documentary that has to be made.  There’s so much about Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party that many don’t know.  Did you know Newton obtained a Ph.D from the University of California, Santa Cruz?  After teaching himself to read, he moved on to obtain the big certificate. That’s black power.
An amazing story that must be told.
Make it happen.

Her's the link:

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