The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

Sweden might seem an unlikely place to uncover a treasure trove of archival material about the American Black Power movement of the 1960s and ’70s, but journalists from that country actually compiled an extensive library of film footage of African American activists from that era. Director Goran Hugo Olsson’s “Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975.

The footage includes clips of Stokely Carmichael’s whirlwind speaking tour of Europe; Carmichael playfully taking over for a reporter to interview his own mother; the Black Panthers’ headquarters in Oakland; and a riveting, passionate interview with Angela Davis conducted while she was in prison.

Olsson has his interview subjects (including Davis, Harry Belafonte, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Talib Kweli and scholar Robin Kelley) talk over the vintage images. Erykah Badu at one point even breaks into song. The tactic brings the images from the past into the present, giving a sense that they still hold the power to engage. The film is in some ways a reminder of the importance of historical records and the vibrancy of archival film, as no photograph or written article could quite convey the real sense of time and place that these moving images do.

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