Bound: Africans versus African-Americans

This controversial World Premier from the USA made a thought-provoking and informational entry for the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival.

Directed by Peres Owino, this documentary illuminates the seldom-discussed ways that Africans and African-Americans view each other, despite their shared history. Ms. Owino has wisely separated this film into easily identified groupings. The one I found most interesting included a series of ancient fortresses along the coastlines used in the slave trade.

They are very clear that the sale of Africans began with Arabian traders and escalated over the centuries to other markets. They also discuss Colonialism and the long-term effects of having their boundaries drawn by Europeans with no regard to tribal or geographical issues.

We see interviews with:
  • Isaiah Washington ("Grey's Anatomy") tells us he had a DNA test done and will soon visit his homeland.
  • Hakeem Kae-Kazim ("Half of a Yellow Sun") is a classically trained Nigerian who was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company. He works constantly in movies and television. He is passionate about being a recent arrival and how he is viewed based on the color of his skin.
  • Tene Carter ("Dreamgirls") brings passionate emphasis to her contributions. I'm pretty sure she's the one who learns from her DNA that her family originated in Ghana.
  • Benjamin Ochieng ("Inception") was born in Kenya and speaks fluent Swahili.
  • Nic Few (Lots of TV) was born in Atlanta. He can go from Rap to Shakespeare with ease and has his own perspective on Africans and their attitudes when they arrive.
  • Peres Owino ("Buni TV Comedy Series") is an actress, writer and producer who is an absolute live wire. She is so articulate and funny that I'm glad she included her own insights.
We see a number of others involved in this free-for-all, who are amusing as well as instructive. They are all opinionated and can voice their views in no uncertain terms!

The issue seems to boil down to the African attitude that they refuse to play the "Blame Game" they feel they see in the African-American culture. They say, "Just get over it!" By the time they hear of the deeply ingrained cultural differences however, they seem to have a better understanding of each other's point of view.

As someone whose grandparents were "just off the boat" from Scandinavia, I found it a challenge to internalize the issues being discussed. However, after some good friends screen this one, you may be sure we'll have plenty to talk about!