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Review: Small Axe’s Mangrove as part of the BBC Collection starting – 15th November – 13th December 2020

Letita Wright as Dr Altheia Jones-LeCointe – Leader of The Black Panther Movement

When the BFI London Film Festival announced it’s programme for 2020, this film made me the most excited and was number one on my list to review – I knew I had to see I had to see it, as I had heard from my parents and other older relatives about the protests and racial prejudice of West-Indians before I was born, but didn’t really know the full story behind it all.

Being born in Central London, and attending secondary school in the Notting Hill area, Ladbroke Grove, where this film takes place, I have actually walked up and down the local streets with no real idea of the history of what the generations before me had to face in order for me to have the freedoms, that I take for granted back then, or in fact, today.

Mangrove Nine in the docks – Mangrove Film (Small Axe – BBC)

Take a look at the trailer…

The Story

This film is a depiction of 1 man, Frank (Shaun Parkes), who tried to create an oasis of calm for the local Caribbean community back in the 1970’s by opening a Caribbean restaurant in Notting Hill, but is instead met with constant racial harassment.

The film covers the story of the ‘Mangrove Nine’ as they were eventually known after incidents escalate and the story ends up in court with high media interest.

Co-written by Alastair Siddons and Steve McQueen, this film tells the true story of the characters, the events and how it all unfolded and became a defining part of Black British history.

Programme Name: Small Axe – TX: 15/11/2020 – Episode: Mangrove (No. 1) – Picture Shows: Mrs Manning (MICHELLE GREENIDGE),
Barbara Beese (ROCHENDA SANDALL), Rothwell Kentish (RICHIE CAMPBELL) – (C) McQueen Limited – Photographer: Des Willie

My Thoughts

I am so grateful to Steve McQueen for creating this collection of films, it is a part of history that my generation (1970’s babies) and younger have not heard much about, my parents were children, themselves whilst this was happening.

Since we have such inadequate Black British history in schools, we desperately need someone to re-tell these stories, so that we know where we have come from, what we have endured and what we have achieved, as a collective.

Although, it’s a re-telling of a factual information, it is told in a gripping way, and from the point of view of members of the ‘Mangrove Nine’ who were on the receiving end of the torrent of racist abuse and miscarriages of justice.

It’s an eye-opening, educational account of the trial and incidents that rocked a generation and sparked the Black Panther movement in West London.

I suggest anyone with an interest in the Black British story watch this film and educate yourself and be relived that such injustices are not so frequent today.

I know we are not perfect as a nation, regarding racism, but we are well on our way to a better place, and I, for one, am grateful for this.

Mangrove airs on BBC 1 at 9pm on Sunday 15th November and is available on the BBC iplayer too.

Thanks for reading.

Chanel x

Chanel Williams

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