Documentaries Explore Life of Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry And Others

2/16/2018, 6 a.m.
Three documentaries scheduled for release during Black History Month are being touted as thought provoking and powerful. One looks at ...

— Three documentaries scheduled for release during Black History Month are being touted as thought provoking and powerful. One looks at the life of the late former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, while the others explores Kofi Adu Brempong, a disabled Ghanaian graduate student attacked by University of Florida campus police and the state of black males.

Indieplex Festival plans a February 20, 2018 release on DVD of “The Nine Lives of Marion Barry,” “In His Own Home,” and “The Vanishing Black Male.” All three films are being offered together for $59.95.

In a news release detailing the film about Barry, who died in 2014, the filmmakers recount the man known as “Mayor for Life,” his rise, falls, trials and reemergence.

“Hailed as a civil rights champion and defender of the poor, he transformed Washington D.C. from a sleepy southern town into a political stronghold of black America,” the filmmakers noted.

Barry’s soaring achievements, catastrophic failures and phoenix-like rebirths made him a symbol of mythic indestructibility. From the Mississippi cotton fields to the corridors of power, Barry weathered drug and alcohol addiction, cancer, four marriages, jail time and political extinction to dominate politics in the District of Columbia for more than 40 years.

With unprecedented access, “The Nine Lives of Marion Barry” tells the continuing saga of this despised, beloved and resilient politician. “It’s a potent story of race, power, sex, and drugs; the tale of a complex and contradictory man who is the star of one of the most fascinating and bizarre chapters of American politics.”

Before Michael Brown and Ferguson, Missouri, the headline-making killing of Trayvon Martin and the death of Eric Garner at the hands of New York City police officers, there was the shocking 2010 shooting of Kofi Adu Brempong. And, though few media outlets outside of Gainesville reported the story, the powerful, hot button documentary featurette, “In His Own Home,” recounts the events of that fateful March day and the aftermath.

There is live video of the police attack on Kofi’s apartment along with accounts of those who marveled at the number of snipers “ready to shoot at any time” as they surrounded the apartment of a lone student, as well as from fellow students who attest to Kofi’s peaceful demeanor.

“Underlining a pattern of racism and police brutality, as well as the frightening militarization of campuses nationwide, ‘In His Own Home speaks to widespread and pervasive issues in our country that will, for the time being, remain among our most controversial and disconcerting,” the filmmakers said.

In “The Vanishing Black Male,” actor Melvin Jackson, Jr. speaks with African American men of all walks— doctors, politicians, college students, teachers, law enforcement personnel and others— to determine the state of the black man in America.

Edited by award-winner Alfred Santana, the timely exploration is interwoven with music, art and a series of monologues.