BBC Studios has announced that the first film titled Mangrove, from the highly anticipated anthology series Small Axe from Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen (Hunger, 12 Years A Slave) will be exclusively broadcast on BBC Brit, DStv channel 120 this Monday, 16 November at 8pm.
Small Axe, which refers to the African proverb “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe”, which means together we are strong – is an anthology comprised of five original films set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, that tell personal stories from London’s minority Caribbean community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant systemic racism and discrimination and is released at a time when these conversations are more prevalent than ever.
When the Cannes Film Festival selected two of the episodes, Mangrove and Lovers Rock earlier this year, Steve McQueen dedicated both to George Floyd and The Black Lives Matter movement as well as all the other Black people that have been murdered and marginalised, seen or unseen, because of who they are in the US, UK and elsewhere.
First up is Mangrove, based on true events, which centers on Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes), the owner of Notting Hill’s Caribbean restaurant, Mangrove, a lively community base for locals, intellectuals, and activists. In a reign of racist terror, the local police raid Mangrove time after time, making Frank and the local community take to the streets in peaceful protest in 1970. When nine men and women, including Frank and leader of the British Black Panther Movement, Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright), and activist Darcus Howe (Malachi Kirby), are wrongly arrested and charged with incitement to riot, a highly publicized trial ensues, leading to hard-fought win for those fighting against discrimination.
Cast Members: Letitia Wright (Black Panther), Malachi Kirby (Roots) and Shaun Parkes (Lost in Space) star alongside Rochenda Sandall (Line of Duty), Jack Lowden (The Long Song), Sam Spruell (Snow White and the Huntsmen), Gershwyn Eustache (I May Destroy You), Nathaniel Martello-White (Collateral), Richie Campbell (Liar), Jumayn Hunter (Les Miserables), and Gary Beadle (Summer of Rockets).
Actor Letitia Wright, who plays leader of the British Black Panther Movement, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, says,
“I think it’s really important that this story is being told today. I wish it had been done sooner, but God bless Steve for wanting to honour our elders. Their stories are now being told and brought to the forefront. As a young person, I didn’t know the majority of the things that we are speaking about in this project.” Wright continues, “I feel really ashamed that there was so much fight for us and that young people in our generation today do not understand the hard work and the love that’s gone into fighting for our rights to housing, our rights to education and our human rights to be respected”. “We are educated on the African American side,” Wright continues. “But many haven’t heard our side of things here in the UK. Mangrove and Small Axe as a whole is brilliant because we are able to educate the rest of the diaspora and the rest of the world about what was happening in the UK, much of which was hidden.”
Image Courtesy: Supplied