At the core of the video is a poem that charts a path through time where the systematic renaming of people as part of the Transatlantic Slave Trade continues to blight the lives of millions.
A Midlands based group have created this powerful and moving video that is based on a short poem written by Yendis. He explains that, “Like many, I was struck by the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African. It was described in a series called “Roots” on BBC 1 in the 70s based on a novel by Alex Haley. Some of those images left a lasting impression on me.
“I hope viewers will consider the true value of knowing their heritage and ancestry.”Yendis
“The original poem was published in The Voice newspaper back in the late 80s and I thought that would be it until I met up with Dr Hayat. There are a lot of artists and performers in Birmingham and at weekends they pass through his little studio in Moseley where he produces great music and videos.”
Hayat, who recently received a doctorate from the University of Birmingham said, “As soon as Yendis shared the idea, I was excited to become involved. Family names and ancestry are really important for people where I come from in Kuwait. Although I’m of mixed parentage, I can still trace my line back many generations, I gain strength and pride from that and can only imagine what it must be like to have that knowledge stolen from you.”
Yendis is a Londoner who moved to the Midlands in 1989. He has a background in Youth and Community work and has spent over a decade independently providing equality and diversity training. In this, his acting debut, he reflects on a journey through centuries that connects continents.
“It would be easy to simply describe the horrors that took place”, he says. “The effects of the violence, loss of life and the wealth generated for Britain are all evident today. This piece of work draws attention to the process of detribalisation, which continues to force many millions of people to be constantly reminded of the pain that was endured, each time we state our name.”
View the video here. It will be published on social media platforms on Jan 8th 2024.
Video shot at The Old Print Works, Balsall Heath, Birmingham UK
Roots – TV Mini Series, 1977
A dramatization of author Alex Haley’s family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte’s enslavement to his descendants’ liberation.
Detribalisation is the process by which persons who belong to a particular indigenous ethnic identity or community are detached from that identity or community through the deliberate efforts of colonizers and/or the larger effects of colonialism.
Dr Hayat can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Voice, founded in 1982, is a British national African-Caribbean newspaper operating in the United Kingdom. The paper is based in London and was published every Thursday until 2019 when it became monthly. It is available in a paper version by subscription and also online.