Pan African Film & Arts FestivalColumnists, Kim's Kronicles — By Kim Webster on February 26, 2015 at 9:57 pm
By Kim Webster
The 23rd Pan African Film & Arts Festival opened on February 5th with the premier of “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.” Directed by Stanley Nelson and produced by Laurens Grant, this documentary takes an intense and detailed look inside the Panther Party. It also graphically unveils J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO FBI efforts to destroy the Black Panthers. Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale organized the Black Panther Party in Oakland CA with positive objectives to serve the community. “One of the strengths of Fred Hampton [Deputy Chairman of the Illinois Chapter] was his ability to bring people together into the original rainbow coalition. Fred was the type of leader that bought out the best in everyone around him and helped them realize their strengths and potential,” said Michael D. McCarty (Chicago Chapter) participant in the documentary.
Akinsanya Kambon was a member of the Sacramento Chapter which launched the first breakfast program and commented, “It was one of the best movies that I’ve seen come out about the Panther Party and I thought the focus on Emory Douglas’ art work was well done.” Akinsanya worked directly under Douglas noticing that the characters that he used in his art work were everyday people: “the people that we were fighting for.” “Most of our people were not reading and the artwork drew their attention,” he said. Akinsanya learned to read in the Black Panther Party, earned a Masters in Fine Art and became a professor at Cal State Long Beach. He created the Black Panther comic book and illustrated the 10-Point Platform & Program which appeared in the Black Panther weekly newspaper. “It was a wholesome chronology of the Black Panther Party although there were a couple of things that could have been mentioned,” said Mohammed Mubarak (Los Angeles Chapter) who was featured in the documentary. He also noted how the documentary explained “the elements that caused the split in the Party between Eldridge Cleaver and Huey P. Newton.”
The RAVE Theatre located at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles CA hosted the film & lecture series.Panel discussions featuring Bill Duke (author of “Dark Girls” & “Light Girls”), LisaRaye McCoy, and Denzel Washington made this one of the greatest places to be in February! Don’t forget to enjoy the art, cultural jewelry and clothing, a fashion show, and exhibits inside the Baldwin Hills Plaza. For more festival info please log on to www.paff.org/festivals/paff-la. You can also subscribe to www.youtube.com/RRSA247 to view PAFF movies after the festival.