Samuel L. Jackson somberly resurrects James Baldwin’s words in the powerful new trailer for Raoul Peck’s (“Lumumba”) documentary “I Am Not Your Negro.”
“The story of the Negro in America is the story of America,” says Jackson over images of vintage racist advertisements. “It is not a pretty story,” he adds, emphatically.
“I Am Not Your Negro” uses Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript for “Remember This House” as the basis for exploring the history of Black racial justice movements from the Civil Rights Movement to the present. In the trailer, archival footage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. surrounded by angry White demonstrators, lunch counter protestors attacked by White mobs and other examples of White supremacist violence towards Black activists underscore excerpts from Baldwin interviews.
“I’m not a nigger, I’m a man,” Baldwin says in one interview as photos from contemporary Black Lives Matter protests appear on screen. “But if you think I’m a nigger, [that] means you need it, and you got to find out why,” he continues. “And the future of the country depends on that.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shortlisted “I Am Not Your Negro” for this year’s “Documentary Feature” Oscar nominations. According to distributor Magnolia Pictures’ website, it premieres in theaters on February 3.