Artist: DVD ReviewTitle: The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (DVD)Rating: 5 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana
There once was an ocean of racism, from which we still feel the ripples. The ripples are such events as rappers getting banned from whole countries because they refuse to ride coach, and directors of expensive champagne companies making public remarks that discourage Black people from purchasing their product. The ocean was the lynching of Emmett Till. They say tears are never shed for the dead, but for the living. Well, just imagine a boy younger than Chris Brown tortured to death for whistling at a white woman.
The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (ThinkFilm) is the most effective documentary to date that details the circumstances of a horrific event in American History. Emmett Till was a fourteen year old from Chicago, who went to stay with relatives in Money, Mississippi during the summer of 1955. Though he was warned of the backwards ways of Southern whites, Emmett took it as a farce and was reportedly rowdy at a local convenient store. Outside of the store, he whistled at the store clerk, a white female named Carolyn Bryant. A few days later he was found dead hanging from a cotton fan, his private parts cut off, and body disfigured beyond identification. The men accused of Till’s murdered were acquitted of their crime months later.
The film’s director, Keith Beauchamp, does a masterful job of gathering those closest to Till to give their insights on one of America’s ugliest tragedies. Rev. Al Sharpton also gives his thoughts on the misfortune as an interviewee. Influenced by the film’s graphic collage of photos, viewers see how America has both changed and stayed the same in regard to race issues. The film does a superb job of making Till’s story vivid and tangible, showing us that racism is not a distant concept. In fact, not even a lifetime has past since this gruesome murder.
When Kanye compared his physical condition after his car accident to Emmett Till’s in the song “Through the Wire”, it was a very understated lyric. If one does know his past, he is destined to repeat it. After 50 plus years since the death of Emmett Till, racism is still being swept under the rug. But sometimes, it takes a badly disfigured face to show the ugly mug of racism.