Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

22 Jun 2020, 12:29 p.m.

Streamable For A Limited Time

A couple of stories about black women's lives. One fictional but based on fact, and one nonfiction.

Right now, till 7pm British time on Thursday June 25th, you can watch the drama Small Island on YouTube, thanks to the UK's National Theatre.

It's about Jamaica and the UK, about a particular historical set of migrants who moved from Jamaica to England starting in 1948 (are you "immigrating" if you are a British citizen, moving from a Crown colony to the empire's headquarters? what does that say about "immigrant" as a legal or social label?), about pride and discrimination and how you keep going in bad circumstances. I absolutely loved Hortense, one of the main characters, and the staging is cool. And here's the learning resource guide with two fascinating essays and a helpful timeline. One of the essays is by Andrea Levy, who wrote the book that the play's based on, and who based Hortense on her own mom.

BBFC rating is 15 due to some strong language, discriminatory behaviour, occasional sexual references and mild violence. Please note that, as part of depicting the experience of Jamaican immigrants to Britain after the Second World War, some characters in the play use racially offensive terms.

I started a conversation with my mom based on some experiences I saw in Small Island and that conversation's not over and I'm learning new things about my parents' experience.

Also (via Kottke): till 14 July, in the US, you can watch Recorder: The Marian Stokes Project online via PBS's Independent Lens. Leonard and I were lucky enough to see this on the big screen last year; here's his review. As he notes:

Content warning: this film includes harrowing recorded-live TV footage of 9/11, which is how I ended up seeing the second plane hit the tower after 18 years of successfully not seeing that footage.

Marion Stokes was an amazing, visionary activist, super-difficult to be around, eloquent, and driven, and her story was astonishing to learn. If you haven't seen this, I recommend it. Absorbing and moving.