Renowned educator Reggie Jackson of America’s Black Holocaust Museum is the talkback speaker next Saturday after the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival’s Virtual Film Series features the award-winning film “Prince Among Slaves.”
“COVID-19 kicked the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival to the curb,” said Janan Najeeb, president and founder of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition and founder of the film festival.
MMWC has organized the festival every year since its launch in 2015 until the worldwide pandemic forced it to close in 2020. Over the years, the festival attracted a broad audience from Wisconsin to well-known public venues like beautiful Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum to the classic 1927 Oriental Theatre and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Union Cinema.
The Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival had been looking to move their fest from spring to fall, the additional wait may work in their favor as they aim for an in-person festival.
Screening films that foster understanding and conversation
The festival has always featured exceptional films that provoke general audiences to develop a deeper understanding of Islam and Muslims.
“We didn’t want to just bring fluff,” Najeeb told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for a story about the inaugural festival. “We wanted people to know about the issues going on and to have an opportunity to discuss them.”
According to its website: “The Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival is committed to discovering and sharing some of the most exciting and thought-provoking films from around the world. Our aim is to use film as a means for presenting topics and issues that are timely, relevant and generate meaningful discussion about Muslims and the Muslim world.”
MMWC’s team selects films from across the globe “that transcend countries, languages and cultures while highlighting the common humanity among people of all races, ethnicities and religious beliefs.”
Films are often followed by talkbacks featuring filmmakers or experts who can expand on the issues raised.
Saturday, February 13th: An enslaved prince
Next Saturday the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival’s Virtual Film Series features the award-winning film “Prince Among Slaves,” a 1948 film about the true story of 26-year-old Abdul Rahman Ibrahima, a highly educated African prince and heir to a kingdom who was sold as a slave in Natchez, Mississippi in 1788. The trilingual heir to a kingdom in West Africa the size of Great Britain toiled on a plantation for 40 years.
“One of the important elements of the enslavement of African people that is mostly hidden is the fact that many of them were Muslims,” said Reggie Jackson, a respected educator and consultant at Nurturing Diversity Partners and a frequent speaker and writer on community issues. Jackson has served as the head griot at Milwaukee’s Black Holocaust Museum since 2003. In parts of West Africa, a griot is a storyteller who maintains the tradition of oral history.
“This film and talkback will discuss the importance of the strength derived by those African captives from their traditional Muslim roots in West Africa,” he said.
You can register online to attend free. However, donations are appreciated as they help cover the per person cost to make the film available.