By Imam Al-Hajj Hakim Abdul-Ali
It was about two years ago that my good friend noted author and lecturer A. Peter Bailey mentioned to me that he was involved in a video production covering certain unknown aspects of El-Hajj Malik El- Shabazz’ political activist life. He was ecstatic about the project concerning late Muslim orator and leader, better known as Malcolm X, and being a self-professed Macolmite himself, Mr. Bailey’s intensity about this project didn’t surprise me in the least.
As time moved on from that initial announcement, I hadn’t followed up with Mr. Bailey where that project was until about two months ago when he and I were talking, whereupon, he informed me that the long awaited DVD about the project was now ready for sale and distribution. It was called “Malcolm X An Overwhelming Influence on the Black Power Movement.”
I immediately told Mr. Bailey that I wanted to see it so that I could do a review about it for the Black Press of South Carolina and beyond. He then put me in touch with one of the documentary’s co-producers, Thomas Muhammad, in Dallas, Texas, and the rest is history as they say.
Via telephone, Mr. Muhammad, the grandson of longtime Dallas civil rights’ activists, told me why it was so important to document what he felt about Malcolm X’s significance and his unknown, or forgotten, influence on the Civil Rights Movement. This info was conveyed to me in such a meaningful manner, but with an ever-so respectful enthusiasm, by this very genuine sixty-six year old lover of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, that I couldn’t wait to get my press review copy.
When it finally arrived I purposely selected a solitary two hour frame to review the filmed documentary without distraction, and it truly is a commanding well put together film masterpiece honoring Malcolm X, who was cowardly assassinated in New York City on February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom. Viewing the thought provoking documentary made me think of the abiding impact that this great leader’s life had upon all of America and the rest of the world with a silent admiration.
The stimulating documentary starts with Mr. Bailey being interviewed in a recreational vehicle on his way down South from his home in Washington, D.C. to points along memorable known and unknown Civil Rights’ sights, oftentimes, bringing to light the many unseen people, stories and places from that violent history of America to the consciousness of the viewer that were previously unknown.
This unique video is dynamically descriptive and cinematically informative telling Malcolm X’s importance on the early Black empowerment movement with an earthy behind the scene aura that you don’t really see too often in today’s documentary films. And the film was solely funded without the aid of corporate funding, a key factor in the making of this soon-to-be archived classic a self-help success.
“Malcolm X An Overwhelmingly Influence on the Black Power Movement” tells the story of Malcolm X and how he was mostly viewed in the South, a locale that most unenlightened folk don’t associate with his undisputed global influence upon the masses everywhere. The documentary takes you to cities and locations like Selma, Birmingham and Lowndes County in Alabama to Dallas, Texas, all places that some historians seemingly tend to forgot to document or to inform the masses about how Malcolm X’s words, thoughts, ideologies and influence were felt.
When viewing the documentary, I found myself, a committed collector and presenter of things things on and about El-Hajj Malik El Shabazz’ life over the last forty years, drawn to the filmic beauty and artfully professional work of the EMR Video Production team’s quality filming and editing work on the documentary. In my frank opinion it rivals any superlative work on any other documentary that I’ve seen to date, and believe it or not, this was the EMR’s first venture of this scale. Watch out for this company in the future. They’re talented.
The documentary, of course, features the right on personal and poignant insights of the much-respected Mr. Bailey’s scholarly views on Brother Malcolm, as he loving refers to this martyred iconic human rights leader, but it also has vignettes of notable interviews with several others including his youngest daughter, Malaak Shabazz, and his nephew, Rodnell P. Collins. Many others involved in the documentary gave insightful views of what it was like living in the South during the 1960s, a period that stills needs to be brought to the minds and souls of today’s youth because so many people of color in “the Civil Rights struggle” gave their lives so that the youth of today could enjoy, if you can call it that, what they have today.
“Malcolm X An Overwhelming Influence on the Black Power Movement” tells the neglected truth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s real relationship with Brother Malcolm X, even though they only met once on March 24, 1964. The film also explores in depth the story of the black panther symbolism that was so prevalent during this ‘60s and so much more about what actually took place in the real Selma, Alabama, especially at the Norman Pettus bridge incidents.
The ninety minutes long documentary is a historic wake up reminder of sort, and you’ll love every moment in this step back into African-American History, which is really also untold American History, even though some folk tend to forget how much obnoxious savagery was actually going on in this country and the rest of the world towards people of color during the Civil Rights era and beyond. It’s a reflective slow walk back into a tragic time period that really lets you know that not-too-much has (really) changed in some ways for the racially marginalized forgotten masses and the ethnically depressed downtrodden segments of current American society.
Mr. Muhammad and his fellow co-executive producer, Jorge “George” Baldor, a Cuban-American, along with producer Lori Mahiot, and associate producer Evans Risher are to be given credit for the vision that they saw and overtook in presenting such a dynamic presentation for everyone to see. It should be in every home and school in this country, bar none, because it’s such a vital visual instrument in reporting the twisted truth about a part of this country’s maligned past history telling and intentional one sided inaccurate reporting.
I must add that you’ll love also listening to Earl Grant, Malcolm X’s dear friend and closest confidant, revealing things of importance about Brother Malcolm X’s life that you never knew of or heard before. In the same context, I was very glad to hear the powerfully optimistic and engaging comments from retired Dallas Civil Rights legend Rev. Zan Holmes, Jr. who met with Dr. King on five different occasions in Dallas. You’ll have to view the documentary to see what I’m alluding to because it’s real to the core.
After watching this Malcolm X documentary, I, wholeheartedly, have to give it an A+ because of its timely historical relevance and its symbolic unified emphasis on what Malcolm X and Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., for example, had in common in potentially coming together, despite their obvious individual religious and political differences, in order to make America be what it said it stood for. If you look at Black America today, with a mindful objective eye to looking at the past in order to move forward, then “Malcolm X An Overwhelming Influence on the Black Power Movement” is a must see reality check documentary for everyone to watch, and I do mean everyone.
The documentary sells for $19.95 plus shipping and handling. It can be purchased at www.bbunity.com or you may call 214.460.7672 for additional info about the documentary.