There is always a list, which is ever growing of films I want to see, Selma (2014) was one of them. From watching its success at the 87th Academy Awards winning Best Song for ‘Glory’ performed by John Legend and Common (who also stars in the film) and rightfully being nominated for Best Picture, I knew this was one for the list.
I was finally able to watch it this weekend and it did not disappoint, aside from the beautiful cinematography, editing and performances by the entire cast there is one thing which stood out and that was the focus on the struggle. What I mean by this is that a film about Martin Luther King Jr could easily be crafted as a biopic, however what director Ava DuVernay and writer Paul Webb established was a complete and total focus on what King and his group were able to achieve through one particular event, the march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama in 1965 to secure equal voting rights.
The march was successful and culminated in US President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It is hard to watch in places, as it should be, it is thought provoking, as it should be, it is debate provoking, as it should be. As soon as the credits began to roll a discussion ensued as to how much have we really changed in society?
The divides between, race, Religion, gender are still evident, (to say the least) in society. In the Fall Winter Collections of New York Fashion week this year white models covered over 79% of the catwalks, which is actually a slight (emphasis on slight) decrease on last year. Think about walking into a room of 100 people and 80 of them are white, you would think it was odd, would you not?
I remember once speaking up to a middle-aged white man on the tube who was nastily mocking the Asian train driver’s accent and at one point during our discussion he asked ‘So what, are you a Muslim?’ and I responded ‘What if I was?’ As if I had no right to care about a racist stood next to me, but that is the question, so what if I was? Would he have aimed his ignorance in my direction instead? Unfortunately another example that the work is never over, Selma displays one great victory, it will make you think and wonder what still needs to be worked on today.