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Cinema Junkie Podcast 197: Black Films That Matter

Author David F. Walker recommends films that give context to current protests

Photo credit: Ivan Dixon/Sam Greelee Estates

Ivan Dixon's film "The Spook Who Sat By The Door" (1973) served up some revolutionary ideas from Sam Greenlee's book of the same name, and many of the issues it tackles about police brutality, social inequities, and systemic racism resonate today.

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David F. Walker (writer of "Shaft" and "Luke Cage" comics, and graphic novels on Frederick Douglas and The Black Panther Party) picks some Black films that matter to provide context ... Read more →

Aired: July 3, 2020 |

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David F. Walker, author of the upcoming "The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel," talks more about the research he's done for his book and I have my full interview ... Read more →

Aired: July 6, 2020 |

Comic book writer David F. Walker ("Shaft," "Luke Cage") recommends some films from Blaxploitation Cinema to the present day that help provide context and insight into current protests over police brutality and racism.

As someone who grew up in the 1960s, I have seen protests before and am hopeful that the current ones will produce genuine change. But I also feel like so much of the current conversation sounds painfully familiar, we are still talking about racial inequality, police brutality, systemic racism and more. So I thought it might be good to frame today’s protests in the context of some films that have raised these issues before in creative ways.

Film can be a great educational tool. It’s readily accessible, less intimidating than opening a book, and more fun than listening to a lecture. At its best film engages you through story and character so that it appeals to you on a very emotional or visceral level. Films may not be able to change the world but they can shine a light on problems and issues, and stir discussion that can be the first steps to change.

Photo credit: David F. Walker/Ten Speed Press

David F. Walker is the author of the upcoming "The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel."

I am thrilled and honored to have writer, filmmaker and publisher David F. Walker drive this conversation about Black films that matter. In addition to working on Marvel's "Luke Cage" and "Power Man and Iron Fist," and Dynamite Entertainment’s "Shaft," he has written a graphic novel on Frederick Douglas and an upcoming one on The Black Panther Party. Walker and I share a love for Blaxploitation Cinema and if you want to dig back into the Cinema Junkie archives look for Episode 60.

Here is where you can find some of the films we discussed.

"The Spook Who Sat By the Door"

"Cornbread, Earl and Me"

"The Killing Floor"

"The Great White Hope"

"The Watermelon Man"

"When They See Us"

"The Central Park Five"

"I Am Not Your Negro"

"Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise of Jack Johnson"

"Coffy" and "Foxy Brown"

"Eyes on the Prize

"Slavery and the Making of America" and "Reconstruction" documentaries

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Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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