First of all....WE ARE SUPER EXCITED! When we found out that Haile Gerima gave Ava DuVernay the green light to re-film his 1993 classic, Sankofa, we were beyond excited. DuVernay, known for uplifting the black voice through film has been awarded for her trailblazing efforts in film, particularly independent film.
One person who isn't new to the independent film industry is the iconic Haile Gerima. Gerima, native of Ethiopia, came to the United States to study film in Chicago in 1968. Later on he moved to Los Angeles to continue his education and produce a number of award wining films. What we love most about Haile Gerima is that it wasn't enough for him to receive the education but it was just as important to "GO BACK" to teach others or as we like to say "Return and Build". For twenty years, Gerima taught at Howard University's Department of Radio, Television, and Film. Having the privilege to influence thousands of students and change the trajectory of their lives speaks volumes about his love and dedication to his people and craft. Speaking of his work, let's get into the TOP 5 reasons why YOU should watch Sankofa on Netflix this September 24th!
5. The Black Community needs this NOW.
You can’t know where you are going until you know where you have been, that includes your ancestry. Events that have occurred in the past are very much apart of ones future. You know the saying “history often repeats itself”, well to this point, it is important for one to know about historical events that have taken place as a “place marker” in our minds which helps us to take the necessary steps to avoid a re-occurrence. But hey, you can’t stop what you don’t know.
4. Gain clarity on the meaning of the Sankofa Bird
This mythical bird hailing from Ghana has layers of meaning that overtime have been tweaked and manipulated, even down to the image of the bird itself. If you go onto Google and do a keyword search “Sankofa” thousands of images will pop up, some more unique then others. The word Sankofa is depicted in two ways, a bird, and an intricate artistic symbol. Upon further research you may find variations of the bird, some with feathers spread while others with a egg floating on its back. In some images, the bird may be perched upon wood. Heck, if your search isn’t diligent enough you may not even find that image! All of that to say, messages and images get lost over time, especially when there isn’t a push to continue the narrative. “Go back and fetch”, the idea of never forgetting ones past but remembering it to improve the future is a message worth telling every generation.
3. THE GRAPHICS!!
Let’s be honest, the original Sankofa film came out in 93’, bless their hearts, to look at those graphics now would frustrate you to no end. On top of that, younger generations would have a hard time connecting with something that appeared so outdated. If you think we are lying, go into your memory bank. Remember those times your teacher would roll in the big junky black television on a heavy metal cart. We all knew when we saw that we instantly knew we were not watching the latest episode of Martin. We were going to be watching some old film about health education where the characters wore bell bottoms, hair like Farrah Fawcett, funky jargon…it either drove you to misbehave or take a nap! Ava DuVernay and her production company, Array, have done us a SOLID favor by res-storing this movie. By making it more visually alluring and captivating it aids in the digestion of the information and resonance. Thanks in advance!
2. Support grassroots projects
The restoration of Sankofa is said to have cost 4K, seems like a lot right? It’s not, and here’s why! Now take into consideration independent films do not have the luxury or resources to have very large budgets for most projects. Consider that you have expenses such as casting, locations, film direction, length of time of production etc.
On the other hand, “box office” movies have million dollar budgets that hit the “big screen” and then double and triple their worth. One can see how easily 4K can be spent on the bare minimum of a project like this. Not to mention, Ava doesn’t want to be put to shame, her name is on the line! Ensuring that this project is executed with a certain caliber is the best way to pay homage…gotta make Haile Gerima proud!
By watching Sankofa on Netflix this September 24th you will be a part of something much bigger. Letting bigger film and distributing companies like Netflix know “hey, there is a need for these types of films and we want more of it.” You know what they say, “the customer is always right.” But if you don’t speak up how can anyone meet your requests. We challenge you to not only watch it but share it on your social media platforms for social proof and increase the movies social currency, it costs you nothing!
1. Without Sankofa, there is no Sankofayah.
Sankofayah creates conscious apparel that pays homage to a rich ancient history while promoting love, community development, and group economics. Our motto “Return and Build” is our way of saying it’s time to go back to the ROOTS to learn from the past. To take it a step further we need to make the daily conscious decision and effort to support others in our community. By doing so we can all leverage our resources, network, and capital to improve the future. Be sure to check out our brands FAT RICH and Black Welfare at www.sankofayah.com
Also, be sure to register for the free Sankofa Watch Party happening this Friday September 24th at 7pm EST. Following that we will have a brief discussion about the film and how it resonates with the black community today.
Alright good people, that’s all for now…so until then…
RETURN AND BUILD,
Marvin and Samantha