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Doc 'Loudmouth' Closes Tribeca Festival with Spike Lee, John Legend, Al Sharpton & Talk on U.S. Racism

ES Staff  |  Documentaries

In Josh Alexander's movie, the rise of the National Action Network's founder and a former TV host who was sometimes controversial is shown. Sharpton has been said to want to be in the spotlight. In the documentary, Sharpton says that was on purpose. From the beginning, he knew that being loud, everywhere, and on TV as much as possible was the best way to change the way people talked about social justice and, eventually, the law. At the Tribeca Film Festival, where the documentary was shown for the first time, George Floyd's family was there. The Juneteenth holiday started with the last song of the festival.

In Loudmouth, Sharpton talks about how he became an activist as a teenager. In 1972, he worked for Shirley Chisholm's presidential campaign, who was the first Black woman to serve in the U.S. Congress. He was accused of not paying taxes, but the charges were dropped. He was also arrested for trespassing and stabbed in the chest in New York, where he was based. In 1986, a group of white teenagers in Howard Beach, Queens, attacked three black men who had walked miles to a pizzeria there after their car broke down. One person died, and the city became divided by race. Sharpton was in charge of demonstrations that shut down streets, bridges, and subways. In 1989, a group of white teens attacked a group of black teens in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. One of the black teens was shot to death, and his friends were also hurt.

"People are used to talking about what happened in the South and don't mind doing so. "They don't want to talk about what happened in New York," Sharpton said in a conversation onstage with Spike Lee and John Legend, who was an executive producer on the film.

"You were there from the beginning. You weren't just there. You took your hits and kept swinging," said Lee, who was born and raised in Brooklyn.

Legend was about how we need to be in charge of our own stories and tell them ourselves.

"Now that we understand what it means... School boards and libraries are trying to get rid of our stories and struggles. We can tell what it means, and they can too. Because of this, they are working so hard to clean up these stories and get rid of our story. Since they had seen what had happened to George Floyd. Every time we make progress, there is a pushback, and we have to keep the story straight."

There have been changes. Lee said he was "traumatized" by a public school field trip to see Gone With the Wind when he was in the third grade. This is not likely to happen now. "They didn't explain what was going on. You liked class trips, you didn't have to go to class, but we went to see Gone With the Wind!"

Sharpton, who was recently in Buffalo with the families of people killed in a mass shooting because of their race, said, "We have a long way to go." "But I've seen enough wins to know that we can win."

With her upcoming documentary, "Blind Divas," award-winning filmmaker Lisa Durden hopes to combat stigmas and preconceptions while also providing inspiration.
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