James Baldwin was an American novelist and activist who spoke out about the intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions. In 1979 he wrote a letter to his agent describing his next project, “Remember This House.” Unfortunately, at the time of his death in 1987 he had only completed 30 pages of his manuscript.
The novel was supposed to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Now in the new documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck envisions the book Baldwin never finished. Magnolia Pictures released the first teaser trailer, which features a powerful message from the author.
“The future of the negro in this country is precisely as bright or as dark as the future of this country,” says Baldwin in the beginning of the clip, as men and women flash before the screen.
The film, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, gives an up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and archival material. The documentary connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter, questioning black representation in Hollywood and beyond.
At a time when the US is confused and possibly scared of what its future looks like, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.
The feature premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, taking home the People’s Choice Award in the documentary category.
“I Am Not Your Negro” will be released in theaters on February 3, 2017. Check out the teaser and new poster below.