Today in history… September 12th, 1977, South African anti-apartheid activist and black student leader Steve Biko died while in police custody, triggering international outrage.
After years of as a leader in the anti-apartheid movement, inspirational writings and empowering activism, he would die at the very young age of 30 (just over a month before his 31st birthday) while at the hands of the police – a death that would trigger worldwide indignation, and make him a matyr of the anti-apartheid movement.
A decade later, in 1987, Richard Attenborough directed the movie Cry Freedom, a biographical drama about Biko, starring Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline.
The film, while certainly well-intentioned, was essentially a Hollywood white-washing of the Apartheid-set story (business as usual, right?). For his efforts, Denzel was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award.
Also worth noting, in 1980, Peter Gabriel told the Steve Biko story in the track titled Biko, from his album, Peter Gabriel.
First, watch the music video for Gabriel’s track below; and then watch the trailer for Cry Freedom underneath – a film that should be on home video in some format: