‘Hidden Colors 3’
Documentary presents action plan for combating racism
By Lisa Fitch | 7/31/2014, midnight
In Tariq Nasheed’s third installment of “Hidden Colors,” there are disturbing graphics, educational interviews and new presentations of familiar, rumored conspiracy theories, which in the words of Arsenio Hall, will make you go “hmmmm ….”
You may even find yourself averting your eyes in efforts to focus your gaze elsewhere while watching “Hidden Colors 3: The Rules of Racism.” The numerous images of public lynching are sickening and then the camera zooms in closer and closer to make its point clear.
But when you view the DVD, which is available for purchase (hiddencolorsfilm.com), you will find some of the interviews quite enlightening, and containing more than a few “aha” moments.
One is an identified FBI spy standing alongside Malcolm X and later infiltrating the Black Panther Party, bringing down both of the movements in the 1960s. Another discusses the now ingrained distrust African Americans have for banks taking root during reconstruction, when “so-called” banks stole money from families, leaving them destitute.
Then the educational facet of the movie catches the viewer by surprise. Central Park used to be a Black township? Seneca is really wordplay on Senegal? The “stocks and bonds” of Wall Street are historically related to actual slave stocks and bonds? Wow.
Nasheed has gone around the country interviewing leading scholars and historians and entertainers to get their take on the “rules of racism” and the untold history of people of color.
Recording artist Nas recounts a time when he was at the Cannes Film Festival at a party on a yacht. He bumped into Tommy Hilfiger on board and the latter immediately asked “So, you’re going to rap for us?”
Dick Gregory, Paul Mooney and David Banner are also interviewed by Nasheed, a celebrated documentary filmmaker and New York Times best-selling author.
With their assistance, “Hidden Colors 3” explores culturally-charged incidents and reveals little-known facts like George Washington Carver preferring to be thought of as gay, rather than have people know that the White family who adopted and raised him also had him castrated so that there would be no risk of him raping their daughter.
The film shifts from one interview to another, all centered around oppressive “rules of racism.” These rules are the antithesis of the rules that African Americans have long sought to learn: the rules to become part and parcel of the dominant American society
What will it take to be accepted? If Blacks wear the right clothes? Get the best education? Speak the King’s English? We have “The illusion of inclusion,” says one interviewee. But nothing has worked. The rules of acceptance keep changing, but the rules of racism are steadfast and ancient.
“Hidden Colors 3” can be thought provoking; the historical interview topics and images of slave beatings, police dog attacks and Trayvon Martin protests can also provoke anger and depression.
Even the “highlights,” where the documentary interviewees bring to mind the countless inventions of African Americans, are tarnished, because it is noted that ideas were often stolen and inventors never credited for their gifts that added to the prosperity of the American life.
There were several insights that evoked applause from the audience. But the most resounding applause came when the “solutions” graphic appeared on screen, with a young smiling, curly-topped Black woman dancing in the breeze with an American flag.
Whew! Everybody seemed to be saying: “Finally. Tell us how we can improve our situation.”
A few of the solutions from those interviewed include:
• More Black men need to become teachers and role models for our youth;
• We need to patronize our Black-owned businesses;
• We need to open businesses—not just buy and consume products, but create and sell them; and
• To be able to open our own businesses, we must first open and patronize Black banking institutions.
According to the movie, once we teach these simple principles to our youth, we can begin to see a change in our community. Once we realize how great we are—how we have overcome all the historical adversity, and have still excelled—then we will realize our full potential and see that our greatness is stronger than any racism.