Black African Coalition brings award-winning documentary, #Bars4Justice, to ASU

ASU screens Immersive documentary that addresses Ferguson on the anniversary of Trayvon Martin's death.

ASU's Black African Coalition showcased the Official Selection Pan African Film Festival documentary “#Bars4Justice” to ASU along with the film's producers, Queen Muhammad Ali and Hakeem Khaaliq, Friday night.

The film revolves around the story of a one-year anniversary concert for Michael Brown and the protests that happened after a group found out that another teenager had been shot that night of the concert in Ferguson, Missouri.

It is told from the point of view of rapper and activist Jasiri X, who performed at the concert and was later arrested for obstruction of justice. At one point in the film he drew a comparison to Martin Luther King Jr., saying that he was being arrested for what MLK Jr. is honored for.

Ali said she wanted to open a dialogue among artists and ask them to promote positivity.

“We wanted to show rappers an alternative way to express their art, being able to be on the frontlines with other activists with their art,” Ali said.

Artists like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar were mentioned frequently during the discussion.

Ali said musicians should be the focal point of the movement because they are the head and bones of the movement.

"Musicians are the main influencers of our youth and I think now is the time for consciousness because everyone is coming into their own knowledge," Ali said. "This is the age of information."

Khaaliq partnered with Ali to make films and create Nation19 Magazine, which specializes in hip-hop and anthropology.

He said they went out to Ferguson to try to get to where the shooting happened. 

"From there is when things went crazy," Khaaliq said. "We were tear gassed, throwing up, trying to film. Almost got shot, and that's the film."

Health sciences pre-professional senior Chinyere Oparaji, who is also the vice president of the National Council of Negro Women’s chapter at ASU, played a large role in bringing the screening to ASU.

She said she went to see Ali and Khaaliq speak in October and that she really wanted to be involved.

“I literally ran to them and I was like, ‘I’ll do it, I’ll bring you,’” Oparaji said. “It was something that hit home with me because I’m an activist in many different ways.”

Oparaji said the National Council of Negro Women wants to build up communities through service.

“We believe in empowering the black women for themselves to be great leaders on campus and in the world and building up our community,” she said.


Reach the reporter at avcabral@asu.edu or follow @angeligagaa on Twitter.

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