By NAN ET Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Sept. 18, 2020: New Yorkers and film fans globally will get a chance to see Guyanese-born Black Panther Star, Letitia Wright’ on screen again at the New York Film Festival on September 25th as she leads an old fight against police brutality – this time in London.
Wright returns in “Mangrove,” an Amazon Studios film from Caribbean-roots, British born Academy Award director, Sir Steven McQueen of ‘12 Years A Slave Fame’ Small Axe series.
The film is distinctly Caribbean focused and tells the real story of the Frank Crichlow, a Trinidad-born owner of a café in Notting Hill, London, who increasingly found himself and his establishment the targets of white police intimidation and brutality. A meeting place for the local West Indian community as well as the area’s Black activists and intellectuals, the Mangrove restaurant was raided numerous times without any evidence of illegal activity. Finally, the fed-up community took to the streets in protest, resulting in the arrests and violent treatment of several demonstrators.
On August 9, 1970, 150 protesters of West Indian, African, and South Asian heritage in Notting Hill marched to local police stations in protest of police harassment in their communities. Nine protest leaders were arrested and charged with incitement to riot: Frank Crichlow, Darcus Howe, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Barbara Beese, Rupert Boyce, Rhodan Gordon, Anthony Innis, Rothwell Kentish, and Godfrey Millett.
“Sunday, August 9, (2020) is 50 years since the Mangrove March, which led to nine innocent Black women and men being arrested,” McQueen said in a statement accompanying the trailer debut. “It was a march necessitated by relentless police brutality in Notting Hill. To commemorate the bravery of these community activists and the nine who went on to be acquitted of incitement to riot with the judge citing ‘evidence of racial hatred,’ I am sharing the trailer of ‘Mangrove,’ one of five films to be released under the banner ‘Small Axe.’”
The film is a stinging indictment of a system rotted by racism and a powerful portrait of resistance, passionately performed by a remarkable cast led by Shaun Parkes as Crichlow; Wright as Altheia Jones-LaCointe, and Malachi Kirby as Darcus Howe.
McQueen’s “Small Axe” is an ambitious new anthology series comprising five original films, set from the 1960s to the 1980s, which collectively tell the story of Britain’s West Indian community. For McQueen, who was raised by a Grenadian father and Trinidadian mother in London, the sprawling project has been brewing in his mind over a decade, when he realized how few storytellers had been given the opportunity to explore the culture in question.
“We’re missing two generations or so of Black artists in the UK because that industry was not welcoming to Black people,” he told IndieWire.com. “There’s a hole in our narrative. These stories shaped the history of the UK. So, it’s no small feat in what the West Indian population has done in the UK and the Black population has done in the UK.”
The other films in the Small Axe collection are “Lovers Rock,” “Red, White and Blue,” “Alex Wheatle” and “Education.”
See a preview here.