Loudmouth’s The first images are of New York City in the 1980s, startling images of foaming racism from Howard Beach to Bensonhurst as Rev. Al Sharpton rose to fame as an organizer, orator, and agitator.
Josh Alexander’s film follows the rise of the sometimes controversial National Action Network founder and former TV host. Sharpton has been accused of seeking spotlights. In the document, it was because Sharpton was deliberately loud and ubiquitous from the start and was on TV whenever and wherever possible as the best strategy to change the narrative and ultimately the law surrounding social justice. George Floyd’s family sat in the audience for the documentary’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. The final selection of the party ushered in the national holiday of June.
loud mouth delves into Sharpton’s activist roots as a teenager – in 1972 he worked for the presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman in the US Congress. He was charged with tax evasion (charges dropped), arrested for trespassing and stabbed in the chest in New York, his base of operations. In 1986, a gang of white teenagers in Howard Beach, Queens, attacked three black men who had walked miles to a pizza parlor after their car broke down. One died and the city polarized along racial lines. Sharpton led protests that closed off streets, bridges and subways. In 1989, a black teenager was shot dead in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn when he and friends were attacked by a mob of white youth.
“People are familiar and comfortable to talk about what happened in the south. They don’t want to talk about what happened in New York,” Sharpton said in an onstage conversation with Spike Lee and John Legend, an executive producer of the film.
“You’ve been there from the start. You didn’t just show up. You took your beating, you just kept swinging,” said Brooklyn-born and bred Lee.
The legend focused on the need to “control our own story and tell our own story”.
“Now we see what it means… School boards and libraries are trying to get rid of our stories and our struggles. We see what it means, and they know what it means too. That’s why they go to such lengths to purge these stories, to get rid of our story. Because they saw what happened to George Floyd. Every time we make progress there’s a backlash and we have to keep the story in check.”
There is progress. Lee sadly recalled being “traumatized” by a third-grade school trip to see Gone with the wind — something that probably won’t happen now. “They didn’t say what it was about. You loved class trips, you didn’t have to go to class, but we went to see Gone with the wind†
“We still have a long way to go,” said Sharpton, who was recently in Buffalo with families of the victims of a racially motivated mass shooting. But: “I’ve seen enough wins to see that we can win.”