President Obama has a complicated relationship with the black American community. We all realize this. Obama garnered more than 90 percent of the African-American vote in his re-election bid. But he has earned criticism for lack of the diversity in his second cabinet, his administration’s drone policy and his refusal to address social ills specifically plaguing the black community e.g. the prison-industrial complex.
The complex relationship between Obama and his largest voting constituency is explored in a new documentary. “A Complicated Affair” studies the ‘delicate’ relationship between Obama and the black community while simultaneously posing the question: “What did Black people expect from President Obama when they voted for him in November of 2008?”
The filmmakers – Ernest Champell and Ted Thornton – initiated this film project in the beginning of Obama’s first administration. “A Complicated Affair” began as a mini-documentary, but has expanded as the hope has been replaced with disbelief. Champell and Thornton are interviewing former members of the Black Panther Party to explore their expectations of the nation’s first black American president.
Champell and Thornton’s inspiration was two-fold. They write on their funding page:
“Little was heard in traditional media concerning the revolutionaries of the 60’s movement and their thoughts about Americas first Black President. Our project provided an opportunity for this perspective to be heard. As the President begins his second term, we want to expand on that conversation by talking to the former Panthers again, as well as, other members of the Black community.”
Two of the featured leaders are Mohammed Mubarak and Roland Freeman, who were both Black Panthers. “If I were to talk to Obama, I would invite him to come to the Black communities, where ever there were Black people who were having difficulties or struggles, challenges. Come and have a town hall meeting in those cities,” Mubarak explains in the documentary.
Obama’s presidency is historic and has been explored from numerous angles, but Champell and Thornton’s work is important. The perspective of former Black Panthers that fought for breakfast programs for underprivileged communities and promoted the importance of Black Studies programs at collegiate institutions is often ignored or deemed unimportant.
So the filmmakers are seeking contributions to assist with the film’s production. Champell and Thornton are seeking $20,000 to help with principal photography.
How can Obama improve his relationship with the black community?