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 The movie is cleverly crafted . . . it is hard to recognize the fact that the Special Forces

group entry into Nigeria is illegal or that sending US jets into their airspace is

not only a violation of that country’s sovereignty but an act of war.



Tears of the Sun: Movie or Propaganda?

By Bakari Akil II


It must be mentioned immediately that ethnic cleansing and inhumane African-on-African violence occurs. This is an indisputable fact that cannot be swept under the rug. It is also true that there are differences that may be considered irreconcilable within or between certain countries in Africa that lead to gross injustices and despicable behavior.

However, the preceding statements do not provide a pass for the movie Tears of the Sun, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Bruce Willis. Regardless of the reasons that the makers of this film cite for making this movie and the attempt to add humanity to the victims of violence, the repercussions of this film must be analyzed and exposed.

In a style similar to the motion picture Black Hawk Down, which explores a US battle in Somalia, the viewer is immersed into the middle of a battle zone without elaboration or clarification. No mention is made of the British creation of the country named Nigeria, which forced populations of people who did not share the same culture, religion, values or view of life to live together as one country. There was no mention of the colonialism, neo-colonialism (past and present) that is the root cause for much of the tension between populations within Nigeria. In addition, no clarification is provided that allows the viewer to see that African people are not just brutal sadistic killers who behave this way because it is their nature.

What the viewer is allowed to witness is the classic portrayal of Africans or Blacks that has been in existence since the movie industry began. Some of the timeless themes that are abundant in the movie are the plot of a young European woman (who is American by marriage) playing savior to the “indigenous” population and their love and zeal for her is without limits. Next, the movie is based on US soldiers saving this woman from the oncoming wrath of the Nigerian rebels who are out to murder, plunder and rape. (To be fair the plot does involve a subtle change to the mission near the end.)

Further themes include African men and women who are completely helpless, always afraid, jumpy and devoid of any personality except for in crucial moments. The meanest and scariest looking Black men they could find are employed as the evil group that chases the conquering saviors played by Bruce Willis and his fellow Special Forces group. In fact, the top “bad guy” looks beyond sinister, he appeared to be crazy!

The movie is cleverly crafted and the situations are seemingly so complex that it is hard to recognize the fact that the Special Forces group entry into Nigeria is illegal or that sending US jets into their airspace is not only a violation of that country’s sovereignty but an act of war. In addition, all of the actions of the Special Forces group, the young woman, the missionaries and anyone else foreign are portrayed as righteous and above reproach. Therefore, the majority of audiences will undoubtedly look at the film and the actions of its participants as good deeds being done. In fact, Bruce Willis’ character provides an excuse for their actions when he states, “God left Africa along time ago!” (So I guess it is up to them to right the wrongs!)

The context in which the film was created and described above is why the movie is so troubling.

We are living in a day and age (in the United States) where if the ruler of a country or policies of a country is deemed dictatorial, that leader can be assassinated or their country invaded (Iraq is a good example).  Little or no proof has to be provided to justify such actions and there has been little evidence to demonstrate that these types of actions can be prevented.

Africa is no exception to this policy.

Although unstated, it is probably fair to say that Africa is not looked to as a place that the great world powers can clearly invade without being viewed upon by the rest of the world as a barbaric power that is picking on a relatively defenseless continent. Further, the legacy of colonialism and accusations of neo-colonialism probably prevents overt hostilities by the world’s ruling elite to the African continent. However, these trends are changing and world powers are increasingly salivating over Africa’s rich economic resources including oil, diamonds, and gold.

Current actions by an African nation to redress the ills that has plagued Africa since the first European slave trader stepped foot onto continent has been met by derision and hostility.

Some examples:

  • On March 7, 2003, the US imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe and no American is allowed to conduct any business activities with this country. The US stated that Zimbabwe is a threat to the entire South African region and must not be allowed to continue its present course. This is in addition to the UK’s policy toward Zimbabwe.

  • Recently, West African oil has been declared a strategic national interest to the US and the groundwork is being laid to ensure that the US will have access to that oil.

  • President Clinton’s bombing of a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant (1998) that made medicine for its people was done without any consideration for that country’s sovereignty. The US just decided it needed to happen and took action.

  • Italy and Ethiopia recent spats concerning Italy’s theft of Ethiopia’s national artifacts stolen in Italy’s illegal invasion in the 1930’s; and

  • US walking out of World Conference Against Racism Sept 7, 2001 in Durban, South Africa

The list of transgressions and tactics used to interfere and weaken the growing strength of the African continent are endless and are becoming more overt. The disrespect and lack of humanity shown towards Africa already exists; however, a pretext for massive interference is not. That’s why these films have frightening implications. When a film such as Tears of the Sun reaches the movie theater and is given such publicity, issues have to be raised.

It must be recognized that these movies perform many functions (regardless of stated intent). The first thing that it does is makes Africans appear to be people without a conscious who have no morals, require guidance and need to be rescued. Next, it desensitizes audiences to the idea of killing Africans, because this is what happens in abundance throughout these movies. Africans are killed in surprising numbers on the big screen with all of the most modern of technologies. Third, the fear that has been built up by stereotypes of the African as a fearsome foe to be dealt with man to man is hammered down by showing the “evil men” (Nigerian soldiers) being easily handled by normal looking men (US Special Forces). This type of movie creates a mindset that is hard to deny.

In a day and age where the mainstream news media is heavily biased, unresponsive and not representative of its public or where the movie industry has a history of supporting US actions during war, such as the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II, movies such as these should not be looked upon as a cool war flicks that highlight the bravery of American soldiers. It should be analyzed critically and the viewer should ask himself or herself where are the moviemakers leading them.

When it comes down to it, I have to ask myself is Tears of the Sun a movie or propaganda? I know my answer but I’ll let you decide yours!

Bakari Akil is an Editor-In-Chief for Global Black News. He holds a MASS degree with an emphasis in Public Administration and has a Bachelor Degree in Law and Society. He is currently teaching Public Speaking and working on his PhD in Communications. Bakari Akil is an editor for

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Marketing Ghana as a Mecca for the African-American Tourist—The Afro-American tourist market constitutes an important niche market. At the moment, the U.S.A is Ghana's second highest tourist generating market with the U.K being the first. In 2003, some 27,000 tourists arrived in Ghana from the Americas. Approximately 10,000 were African-Americans. Also, about a thousand are living and working in Accra. The African-American tourist market is Ghana's niche market because it has the greatest growth potential in terms of arrivals and receipts. This is because the African-American tourist of today is more interested in exploring his/her cultural and historical heritage; the very products that Ghana offers. Also, they have a $300 billion spending power and spend 98% of their household income. The total income of this segment of the American population is the largest of all the ethnic groups at $485 and projected to reach $1.01 trillion by 2010. In a 2000 Gallup poll commissioned by the National Summit on Africa, 73% of African-Americans were interested in learning more about Africa.ModernGhana

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Strange Fruit Lynching Report / Anniversary of a Lynching

  Willie McGhee Lynching  / My Grandfather's Execution

Dr. Robert Lee Interview / African American dentist in Ghana

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Bob Marley— Exodus

Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the ska, rocksteady and reggae bands The Wailers (19641974) and Bob Marley & the Wailers (19741981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited for helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement (of which he was a committed member), to a worldwide audience.



Exodus: movement of jah people! oh-oh-oh, yea-eah!

Men and people will fight ya down (tell me why!)
When ya see jah light. (ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!)
Let me tell you if youre not wrong; (then, why? )
Everything is all right.
So we gonna walk - all right! - through de roads of creation:
We the generation (tell me why!)
(trod through great tribulation) trod through great tribulation.

Exodus, all right! movement of jah people!
Oh, yeah! o-oo, yeah! all right!
Exodus: movement of jah people! oh, yeah!

Yeah-yeah-yeah, well!
Uh! open your eyes and look within:
Are you satisfied (with the life youre living)? uh!
We know where were going, uh!
We know where were from.
Were leaving babylon,
Were going to our father land.

2, 3, 4: exodus: movement of jah people! oh, yeah!
(movement of jah people!) send us another brother moses!
(movement of jah people!) from across the red sea!
(movement of jah people!) send us another brother moses!
(movement of jah people!) from across the red sea!
Movement of jah people!

Exodus, all right! oo-oo-ooh! oo-ooh!
Movement of jah people! oh, yeah!
Exodus! all right!
Exodus! now, now, now, now!
Exodus! oh, yea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-eah!
Exodus! all right!
Exodus! uh-uh-uh-uh!

Move! move! move! move! move! move!

Open your eyes and look within:
Are you satisfied with the life youre living?
We know where were going;
We know where were from.
Were leaving Babylon, yall!
Were going to our fathers land.

Exodus, all right! movement of jah people!
Exodus: movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!

Move! move! move! move! move! move! move!

Jah come to break downpression,
Rule equality,
Wipe away transgression,
Set the captives free.

Exodus, all right, all right!
Movement of jah people! oh, yeah!
Exodus: movement of jah people! oh, now, now, now, now!
Movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!

Move! move! move! move! move! move! uh-uh-uh-uh!
Move(ment of jah people)!
Move(ment of jah people)!
Move(ment of jah people)!
Move(ment of jah people)! movement of jah people!
Move(ment of jah people)!
Move(ment of jah people)!
Movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!
Movement of jah people!


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 Relations Between Africans and African Americans: Misconceptions, Myths and Realities

By  Godfrey Mwakikagile

 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: National Academic Press, 2005) 302 pages

Chapter Four: The Attitude of Africans Towards African Americans

Chapter Six: Misconceptions About Each Other

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Dentist Dr. Robert Lee

Championed African-American Community in Ghana

In the mid-1950s, Dr. Robert Lee, a dentist from South Carolina, moved to Ghana to escape racism in the south. Over the next half century, Lee became a fixture in the African-American community in the West African country. Dr. Lee died on Monday, July 5th at the age of 90. But few here in his home state, or in the States at all, knew of his work. But in Ghana, he made a name for himself. Dr. Robert Lee, trained as a dentist, moved to Accra in the mid-1950s. Over the past half century, Lee became a fixture in the black American ex-patriot community in Ghana. NPR

Host Michel Martin talks to NPR West African correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about his life and legacy. Dr. Robert Lee NPR Interview

Dentist Championed African-American Community In Ghana

Dr Robert Lee passes on

Dr. Robert Lee (right) in 2009 with Kwame Zulu Shabaz

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Basil Davidson's  "Africa Series"

 Different But Equal  /  Mastering A Continent  /  Caravans of Gold  / The King and the City / The Bible and The Gun

West Africa Before the Colonial Era: A History to 1850

By Basil Davidson

The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham's Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

By Andrew M. Manis

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#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.”  His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 21 February 2012




Home Film Review  Yvonne Terry  Transitional Writings on Africa

Related files:  Books on African Film  African Films on DVD  Ousmane Sembene, dies   African Studies Film Festival Program at Morgan