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Is stamped from the Beginning based on a True Story

Netflix recently bolstered its documentary collection with the addition of the 92-minute feature, “Stamped from the Beginning.” The film explores the plot intricacies and casts a spotlight on its engaging content. Is stamped from the Beginning based on a True Story? Amidst a shifting focus towards fictional biopics, this documentary, along with others like “Take Care of Maya” and “Escaping Twin Flames,” is bringing attention back to Netflix’s successful non-fiction offerings. As cancellations impact the streaming platform’s fictional content, the emphasis on compelling documentaries gains significance, making “Stamped from the Beginning” a noteworthy addition for those seeking thought-provoking narratives.

Is stamped from the Beginning based on a True Story

In 2016, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi published “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” which has taken various forms since. The 92-minute film adaptation emerges as one of the most heart-poundingly persuasive renditions. Alongside Ava DuVernay’s Academy Award-winning “13th” and Elvis Mitchell’s delightfully idiosyncratic “Is That Black Enough for You?!?” it further cements Netflix’s reputation as a hub for meaningful Black history documentaries.

The film’s distinctive approach lies in prioritizing Black women’s perspectives on the history of American racism. With the exception of Kendi himself, every expert commentator featured is a Black woman. Notably, legendary movement leader Angela Davis is included, although her contribution is understated. This choice marks an undeniable coup in amplifying diverse voices within the exploration of American racial history.

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Stamped From the Beginning Overview

Stamped From the Beginning” fulfills its title by explaining the origin of anti-Blackness. Angela Davis, an activist lending credibility to the film, asserts, “It’s not about the color of one’s skin or the grade of one’s hair. It’s about slavery.” Europeans justified the transatlantic slave trade by depicting Africans as beastly, ignorant, and evil, gradually turning the word “black” into a linguistic analogy for these traits. The film delves into how, through art, fiction, and religion, enslavement of Africans was portrayed as ordained from the beginning.

The documentary confronts the race schism that birthed the concept of whiteness, asserting white superiority and entitlement to privileges based solely on that premise. Filmmaker Williams strategically incorporates historical evidence, recognizing that relying solely on logical academics may not maintain audience engagement. To invigorate storytelling, he integrates beautifully rendered animation, alongside archival footage and recent viral moments, providing familiar context to the presented concepts.

Is Stamped from the Beginning based on a True Story: Black History or Merely Repeating It?

The section narrating the story of 16th-century Black poet Phillis Wheatley is particularly impactful. As the animation unfolds Wheatley’s tale, the camera seamlessly transitions to the faces of Black female scholars and archival footage of Ania Hill in the 1990s, as well as more recent footage of Supreme Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Without uttering a word, the visuals convey the perpetual need for Black women to prove their worthiness, a struggle that persists to this day.

Notably, the documentary humorously portrays Thomas Jefferson’s contradictory proclamations about race, succinctly summarized by activist Lynae Vanee as, “Thomas Jefferson was full of shit.” Throughout, Williams cleverly interweaves recognizable pop culture images, drawing from well-liked movies and TV shows. Paired with voiceover testimony, this approach compels fans to confront the true implications of their recognition and admiration. It prompts a necessary examination of what these images actually represent, inviting fresh conclusions when viewed within the context presented.

However, a less successful moment arises when an actor is employed to portray Ida B. Wells in the section recounting her disclosure and documentation of the lynching of Black people in the early 20th century. While the material is grave, this interlude highlights the limitations of narrative interpretation within a documentary.

Stellar cast

Netflix’s “Stamped From the Beginning” boasts an impressive lineup of voices, featuring prominent figures such as Angela Davis, Ibram X. Kendi, Elizabeth Hinton, Carol Anderson, Kellie Carter Jackson, Brittney Cooper, Imani Perry, Ruha Benjamin, Jennifer Morgan, Julian Joseph, Rafa Marinho, Lynae Vanee, Alexa Rachelle Jennings, Paisley Rose Carswell.

The documentary weaves together the insights of these experts, complemented by archival footage and news clips. Notably, the animations bring to life the narratives of historical figures Ida B. Wells and Phillis Wheatley, adding a visually dynamic layer to the exploration of America’s racial history.

Where to watch

Stamped From the Beginning” is available for streaming exclusively on Netflix. Dive into this thought-provoking documentary featuring a stellar cast of voices, including Angela Davis and Ibram X. Kendi. Uncover the nuanced history of racist ideas in America through innovative animation, expert insights, and compelling archival footage. Only on Netflix.

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