“Suddenly, everything you have been taught, everything you believe comes face to face with the truth…but in confronting this truth, it upsets the internal belief system upon which your life has functioned. Its when you have been raised in a certain religion, or a certain political ideology and someone brings you a morsel of truth that shock the hell out of your intellectual belief system. And the truth they gave you is so powerful that it disrupted and uprooted almost everything that you believed.” – Dr. Umar Johnson.
“Out of Darkness” is a beast of a documentary.
When I first heard of it, put on from a good friend, I thought it was a documentary rooted in how Hip-Hop was taken from the people that started it. I soon realized it was much more. “Out of Darkness” i far more expansive and Hip-Hop is merely a segment – a representative of what has happened to people of color for centuries.
“Out of Darkness” is a full length three-part documentary directed by Amadeuz Christ (Δ+), that – at great length – investigates the history of African people, the the vast contributions of people of color, and how so-called White Supremacy has permeated throughout the world. Furthermore, it plunges deep into eras of antiquity, the impact of Egypt (Kemet), the Nubian/Kushitic origins of Nile Valley Civilization, the Moors in Europe, and how racism continues to be a scourge of the modern day.
The doc features a gumbo of activists, professors, communal thought leaders and philosophers including narrator Prof. Kaba Kamene, Dr. Umar Johnson, Dr. Claud Anderson, Tim Wise, Prof. James Small, Dr. Joy DeGruy, Anthony Browder, Sabir Bey, Atlantis Browder, and Taj Tarik Bey. Their commentary is powerful. They do not hold back and nearly all notions are backed up by fact, even referring to mainstream references like the movie “1492: Conquest of Paradise.”
Hip-Hop as a movement is represented and contextualized as well. “What allowed whites to get a hold of your music was integration,” says Dr. Claud Anderson. “White folk were always attracted to Black folk, but we cause of segregation they couldn’t get to it.” They denounce the capitalism that serves as the backdrop and state – to varying degrees – that rap artists have betrayed their people. “The minute you let white people in Hip-Hop, they come to control it,” Johnson says. “Just look at jazz.” He does not let Black people off the hook, blaming us for giving away the art form. Ultimately, Anderson, Bey and Johnson charge that modern, commercial Hip-Hop was co-opted and now serves largely as a means to oppress people. “Out of Control” does an excellent job at re-connecting Hip-Hop to the griots, truth-tellers and artists before them.
“Out of Darkness” is an educational revolution that will make parents ashamed their kids are in “their” schools, but also give everybody a historical crash course in systemic racism. Institutional racism exists, but there has been a concerted effort to hide it and socialize all people that it does not exist. “Out of Darkness” contradicts almost everything you have learned and be raised in. It even challenge the notions of multiculturalism. “The new racisms wears a Brown face,” says Dr. Umar Johnson. Johnson says that people will try to calm the mind when exposed to the truth. He is likely correct.
The movie is one that should be seen by every person here in America, not just Black people. It is a must see for its educational qualities, its unbowed stance against racism and the unapologetic manner of speaking truth to power. “Each one of us is God having a human experience,” Prof. Kaba Kamene says.
Watch the trailer below and buy it here.