The Black Candle (2008) Documentary
Directed by M.K. Asante
A documentary about the struggle and triumph of African-American family, community, and culture, using Kwanzaa as a vehicle to celebrate the African-American experience. The seven principles of Kwanzaa (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith) are so important to African-Americans today. The documentary explores the holiday’s growth out of the Black Power Movement in the 1960s to its present-day reality as a global, pan-African holiday embraced by over 40 million celebrants.
The Black Candle‘s final bow at a/perture took an unexpected turn when M. K. Asante, the film’s director, showed up to see his film in a new space and interact with those in the audience. His film is about the African-American tradition of Kwanzaa and the celebration of black American’s African heritage and ancestry. Asante arrived with family and was gracious enough to spontaneously perform a Q&A for the audience after the film was over. They were thrilled—a surprise for everyone who’d just experienced an intimate portrait of African-American culture and life. As the credits rolled, people were chanting and trilling with their tongues—or ululation—in excitement. Once Asante took to the front of the room, he commanded the floor with sincerity, gratitude, and poise; answering every question with delicacy and passion. His other projects include the books Buck: A Memoir and It’s Bigger Than Hip-hop, which he spoke about in reference to his life and passion for art.
a/ staff Gray Gordon