The Colin Kaepernick Effect
What would your future self tell you the teenager?
Colin in Black and White — Great cinema. I laughed, howled at the screen, cringed and remain inspired.
Of course we’re all ( I defy you to say otherwise) fans of Ava DuVernay. Here she weaves her collaborative magic with NFL star Quarterback turned Anti-racism activist Colin Kaepernik.
The question is: What would you risk, when you had everything you dreamed of, knowing you could lose it all?
The six parter is the equivalent of visualising a teenager’s diary, whilst quantum time allows your future self to observe events in real time. Except you can’t change the timeline, but you can add knowledge to what’s going on.Apologies, I graduated as an Applied Chemist (so I’m way into Newtonian time continuums.
DuVernay’s creative treatment shows periodic “art-gallery-like” presentations from Kaepernik breaking the 4th wall. Lush! The film’s narrative knits together both the tensions of a teenager and the challenges of a mixed-race child growing up with white adoptive parents. I won’t spoil the film, if you’ve not watched it. But it did, in the way it resonated with me, lead me to remix sampling its theme.
What would you tell your teenager self about what to look out for?
As a child fostered, before my parents called off the adoption to white parents, and that my mother is mixed race, there’s a certain poignancy. I tell this to myself and my young lads (love em). My next post features a here and now of Rob, who I’m sworn to secrecy, but if you’re in the UK, you could see him.
1. Pursue your dreams and hold onto your values. Time is relative and if you’re surrounded by people who love you, time will appear inconsequential. It took me 5 years after graduating to become a foreign correspondent in South Africa after continually being written off by editors. Comments included, we don’t like your accent.
2. You’re going to make mistakes. In part that’s the evolution of the teenage brain. Recent studies show the decision-making part of your brain (the prefrontal Cortex) doesn’t stop growing till past 25 years of age. So take every mistake / failure as a step to your aspirations.
3. Racism in the form we know it today has been around since the 17th century. It’s not born primarily of ignorance, but is purposeful, motivated by self interests, power and then ignorance of cultures. History has shown for every step to eradicate it, racists and what scholar Ibram X Kendi calls “assimilationists” regroup to repackage their attacks. Stay vigilant (the right word before those forces trumped the word, was “stay woke”) and form alliances.
4. Always ring your mum. Something I wished I did more of.
Colin in Black and White is available on Netflix