Pratibha Parmar’s new documentary on Alice Walker called “Beauty in Truth” debuted on PBS last week. It’s the first project of its kind to explore Walker’s legacy as a pioneering black womanist writer, and it’s just on time, as Walker celebrated her 70th birthday on February 9.
Parmar told the Daily Beast why it’s so important to capture Walker’s legacy for younger audiences.
There are many reasons why many young people don’t know who Alice Walker is. There’s a deliberate erasure of women history-makers, particularly woman who have been outspoken, and Alice has always been outspoken on so many different issues. There’s also a shocking gender and racial bias in the teaching of history and literature, so that the white male literary canon is always at the top of the reading lists. Unless there are educators who have an awareness and commitment to ensuring that women and especially women of color are represented in their reading lists, the default will always be the white male canon.
So far, the film has gotten great reviews, with the Los Angeles Times noting that, “the praise is more than due, and it isn’t often we get to spend time with a person of such conviction under whose hands words bloom with both beauty and power. But then there really isn’t another person like this. There’s only Alice Walker.”To see a list of screenings, visit the film’s website.