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Dear Ann,

This is not my usual cozy Lazy Sunday fare, but it is one of the most riveting films I have seen. Raoul Peck’s 2017 film,  I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary about writer James Baldwin, who died more than 30 years ago.

In his New York Times review, A.O. Scott called I Am Not Your Negro “thrilling.” It is revelatory, brilliant, and painfully bleak. All of the narration is in Baldwin’s words, spoken by Samuel L. Jackson. Baldwin himself speaks in clips from television and lectures. He’s electrifying.

It’s an astonishing film.  I can’t really recommend knitting to it, but you can’t knit to everything.

PBS broadcast I Am Not Your Negro recently as part of its Independent Lens series, so you can watch it on PBS Passport through January 30. The film also is streaming on Amazon Prime and iTunes.






  • I saw this when it came out at our local independent theatre. Kay is spot on – it was brilliant, revelatory, and painfully bleak but in the best possible way. I left the theatre energized and committed, not despondent and defeated. I was fortunate to see it in a theatre where the audience was roughly half white and half African American with a few other groups thrown in, which made the viewing experience both more uncomfortable (I am a privileged white person) and more powerful but I think the film would translate well to the small screen as well.

  • Thank you for, once again, leading us to another good film.

  • Yes! This was a good one.

  • Thanks, Kay. As a white woman, with my inherent privileges I must stand up. Movies like this help me see this. Everyone’s fight is my fight. No one is free when others are oppressed.

  • Truly brilliant film When asked the question, “what famous people (dead or alive) would you like to have dinner with?” James Baldwin is always on my list.

  • Public television recently aired this production in my Northern CA area. I am a long-ago reader of Baldwin and found this film to contain some of the most important and transformative ideas I have ever heard witnessed experienced. Viewing it was actually a privilege. Kudos. And feather in your wing for sharing….

  • It is also streaming on Amazon Prime, where we watched it a few nights ago. Powerful.

  • Yes. This is so excellent. I wish I’d read it my 20s. Read it 2 years ago. Now is good as ever.
    It is a classic American essay for all of us…especially if you are an artist or someone wants to know what’s it’s like to really love yourself and not be comprised by anyone else’s ideology about being human.

  • Just thank you for being here. The 13th was deeply moving and disturbing. All I could think was:What Have We Done? How did we believe this was ok? Why weren’t we paying more attention? Oh, I know.
    We were living our lives of White Privilege!! NO more. Yes, one foot in front of the other. And Ann and Kay, thanks for the help and push.

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