A new documentary opened in New York last week on political revolutionary Angela Davis. Roland Martin talks with the ’60’s revolutionary’ Angela Davis, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith about the new documentary “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners.”
MR. MARTIN: A new documentary opened in New York last week on political revolutionary Angela Davis. It was executive-produced by Jada Pinkett Smith. Take a look at the trailer:
MR. MARTIN: Well, folks, we’re here at the Schomburg here in Harlem, talking to Angela Davis, the, I guess, star of the film, if you want to actually say that.
Just your thoughts on this documentary and the importance of telling this story to this generation.
DR. ANGELA DAVIS: Well, of course, this is two generations after the story unfolded in the early 1970s, so I think it’s really important for young people to witness the possibility of winning a struggle. And, you know, I think it’s about time that we recognized the importance of the Black Liberation Movement and of all of the changes that were made in the course of that revolutionary struggle. We may not have made the revolution that we thought we were making, but in the process, we changed the world in so many ways.
MS. SHOLA LYNCH: What I love about this Angela Davis story is, literally, how did this 26-year-old graduate student become an international political icon? You see it happen in this period from ’68 to ’72. She’s not coming out of the box like, “Hey, I want to be an international political icon,” you know, “with my PR people.” She’s becoming it, and you see the choices and the repercussions.
So, it’s a good ride!
MR. MARTIN: What was so important about this story? I mean you could, look, EP a lot of different stuff.
MS. JADA PINKET SMITH: Right.
MR. MARTIN: What made this so unique?
MS. SMITH: I just think that it’s a[n] important part of American history that’s kind of overlooked. And it’s such a powerful piece of history – not just African-American history, black history, but history – world history at that. And we get to see how people rallied around Angela because she became the symbol of justice and freedom.
MR. MARTIN: One of the issues that I always talk about when I’m giving speeches to the next generation is it’s okay to be a revolutionary.
MS. SMITH: Yes.
MR. MARTIN: So, when folks today hear that, [they] go, “Oh, my God!” I mean they’re freaked out, but the reality is these were young folks who were truly visionaries who said, “We can change stuff.”
MS. SMITH: Absolutely. They were independent thinkers, people who were not afraid to stand up for their specific convictions. And, you know, that’s how you make change.
MR. WILL SMITH: Our children are of the era that the President’s black, you know. So, it’s like they can’t even imagine this time and place. So, for Jada and for myself, it was really important to have the kids sit and watch this and understand it and meet Ms. Davis. And, you know, it’s been great.