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The Concept Of Black Consciousness In The Movie Named Sankofa

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In the movie named “Sankofa” made by Haile Gerima, was technically about an African-American woman who traveled back in the time of slavery and experiences the life of enslavement. In the beginning, it shows a woman named Mona she is colonized and brainwashed which lead to her being separated from her origin. She was on a trip to Ghana, in that trip Mona went was in a old cave, that cave was one of the places in which Africans were captured brought, gathered, and tortured. As Mona goes in the cave she and travels in those time of slavery. This slave, named Shola, is believed to be her ancestor. Gradually throughout the movie, Mona understands that she is being brainwashed by the colonizers. It took her time to love her origin and her culture but what matters is that she was able to love her roots. The elements such as identity, time, and location played an important role as these elements helped Mona with her Black consciousness.

The term Black Consciousness can be defined as “Black consciousness is a broad category that encompasses things as varied as race consciousness, race relations, black pride, black power, and even rebellion and revolutionary consciousness as it relates to a historically oppressed community, nation, or group acting and reacting against its oppression.” (encyclopedia).Technically being aware of where you’re ancestor is from and knowing that your ancestor suffered a lot and is still suffering these days through racism and being able to love your origin. Back then the African American viewpoint regarding identity, time, and location was very dissimilar. There were some ways in which led to the African culture to be gone little by little as one of it was the time of imperialism occurring. Imperialism has an impact as the white made African American children dress and act like them and make them forget where they truly came from. But knowing you’re ancestor history and what they went through will help impact and get your black consciousness. Knowing you’re real identity and embracing your identity. Realizing you’re an ancestor and being more practical have to do with time. Ultimately, recognizing your location as to in where you want to be. Mona was completely unaware of her identity until she gained her Black consciousness.

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At the beginning of the movie, Mona does not recognize her true identity. Mona was modeling for a fashion photoshoot as she was wearing a yellowish wig doing different poses to the photographer. The photographer was a white American that was supporting her to ‘to be sexy’ in the pictures. This shows that she wants to be shown as a white men dream. What’s worse is the fact that she was in the holy area of African American also a part of Ghana where the mass slaughter of African Americans occurred. There were times that without any hesitation she blurted out that she is American. Mona prejudice against herself have to do with Shola. Shola would always claim that she is a servant as she can never accept the fact that she is enslaved. In the Louisiana sugarcane plantation, the African American does not want to encounter themselves with any part of the white culture or religion and stick to their religion and practices as this shows they do not want to change and stick to their own identity. On the other hand, Shola practices Christianity but overtime Shola perception will change throughout the movie as she will finally attain senses.

Mona is ignorant as she has no clue about what happened with her ancestor. The way she acts seems like she has no clue whatsoever especially since it was in Ghana. There was a point at the beginning where Shango recommended that she poison her master, but she refused as she thinks that is immoral to murder. Shango tried to explain to her that what the master, in general, is doing is wrong as the master torture them and her. But toward the end finally, when she gained her black consciousness her rapist came toward her while she was cutting in the land. She stabbed him with the knife this show she was against Christianity and what the master put her and the others through. Throughout the movie, you can tell that now she is more aware of her surroundings most importantly with her black consciousness.

Location does not depend on your physical location it is where you’re subconscious is. The location is valuable since Mona was discerned toward the location in Ghana. She took no notice of the fact she was in ghana the place where her ancestor was mascaraed and tortured heavily. Usually, Shola is always in her comfort zone as she dislikes the idea of not being anywhere far from her home. When shola finally killed her master she ran away which shows she is finally free and for the first time she finally got out of her comfort zone and now have knowledge about her surroundings. In the end, she didn’t have any attire on which shows that she revival. But then after someone provided her with an appropriate outfit that was different than the outfit she wore in the beginning. She sat down with African Americans and cherish, admires, and respects her culture and the land.

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The Concept Of Black Consciousness In The Movie Named Sankofa. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from
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