Part 1 of 3
This article has been on my mind for quite some time. I've been doing a lot of research to figure out what stories about Africans and people of African descent should be told on the big screen. I'm very happy to see more of my people in the spotlight, but slave movies are getting old for me. Don't get me wrong, I love that [12 Years A Slave](movie:222641) was told, but I want to watch movies about black people who are already free and doing amazing things like being inventors, explorers, warriors, kings, queens, cultural icons and symbols. Something that's powerful, that shows black people in the world weren't just slaves and victims, because people don't understand the psychological effect that the media and the school system can have on us if that's all we are told about black people of the past.
Even if a director wanted to film a movie about a black person starting out as a slave then fine, but choose a story like Bass Reeves (one of the greatest law men of the West) or Yuaske, the one-time African servant that became a Samurai and was Lord Oda Nobunaga's best friend. But these are only ideas (for now), so bear with me on this first list.
1.) Thomas-Alexandre Dumas
A man that was both fearless and a courageous leader, General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas was a force to be reckoned with. Dumas is regarded as the highest-ranking "person of color" in European military history (Divisional General). He is actually mentioned as an even greater general than his (mutual friend, Napoléon Bonaparte.
Thomas-Alexandre's son, Alexandre, wrote one of the most famous novels ever based on his dad's fictionalized adventures with The Count of Monte Cristo. And The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, written by author Tom Reiss, tells the true story of the Count of Monte Cristo. Thankfully, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas' real story will finally be told in the movie
2.) Fatima Massaquoi
I found this story about an African princess living in Nazi Germany very interesting. This is a story that definitely needs to be told on the big screen. Fatima Massaquoi was the daughter of King Gallinas of Southern Sierra Leone (circa 1904).
In the 252-page volume, Massaqoui attends boarding school, plays violin for royalty and presidents and even finds herself at Nazi rallies. (During this time, she writes that one classmate reassured her: “We are not against Negroes or our friendships towards them as such. How could we when we are striving to have our colonies back?")
(Source: The Root)
3.) Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges
Saint-Georges is probably one of my personal favorites on this entire list! I'm a huge music fanatic and I really enjoy classical music, especially listening to the violin. I honestly wish more people knew about this man because his story was so surreal. If Hollywood ever decided to make a movie about him, so many people would think this is a fictional story. Saint-Georges was born precisely on Christmas Day 1745, on the French-Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
Saint George was truly the "King of Pop" of his time, a superstar of Europe! This man was one of the world's greatest violinists and composers. His nickname is the "Black Mozart," but in reality, his time was even before the young Mozart. There is speculation that when Saint-Georges was locked up during the French Revolution, Mozart used some of Georges' style. So maybe Mozart is the "White Boulogne".
I mean, this guy even had a love affair with the Queen of France!
Quote from Saint Georges biography:
Musically Saint George may very well have been the "King of Pop" of his age; militarily he helped prevent what could have been the early collapse of the French Revolution. The vicissitudes of his journey are dramatic: from a young outsider in Paris to the dizzying heights of superstardom in pre-Revolutionary France ("The Famous Saint George") to an utterly tragic end in which a man whose company had once been fought over by royalty and great aristocrats, died alone, unmarried and destitute. In his lifetime Saint George was a an elite musketeer of the King’s Horse Guard; a master-swordsman and Europe’s fencing champion; a composer, violin impresario, and opera director that influenced Mozart; a playboy; and a military hero in the French Revolution—ironically all in an age when slavery was endemic and white superiority was dogma.
This story needs to be told ASAP! You can watch his short documentary below:
(Sources: Historical Biography of Saint Georges.
4.) The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, aka Black Wall Street
This is one of America's most horrific atrocities committed on its own people, I repeat, on other Americans! Let's ignore that fact that these people were black and their attackers were white: The people attacked were American, the same nationality as everyone else. Do you not understand how stupid, scary and disgusting it is to perform an act of terrorism on your own people?! The event is never or rarely mentioned in history books! This may not be the most joyful story, but it has meaning; it isn't hatred, but truth.
Emory University Professor of African American Studies, Carol Anderson talks about The Tulsa Riot of 1921:
At the time, Tulsa was the wealthiest black city in America.
5.) Queen Amina of Zazzau
Queen Amina, also known as Aminatu, was a Nigerian Muslim warrior-queen that was one of the most celebrated rulers in north central Nigeria.
As a leader of the Hausa people (an ethnic group of black people in Africa) she conquered and commanded for nearly 34 years! Amina was the eldest daughter of Queen Bakwa Turunku, the founder of the Zazzau Kingdom in 1536. Aminatu was both legend and non-fiction when it came to her military exploits.
That's it for Part 1! I hope many of you found these stories interesting and hopefully you learned something new. This is only a taste of what I'm going to show in my following articles. Part 2 will have a longer list that features Yasuke the African Samurai!