By Francis Urias Peters
When the winner of the Oscar for best motion picture (Twelve years a slave) was announced on the night of Sunday 3rd March 2014, director, Steve McQueen could not hold back his emotions. He created history by becoming the first black film director to win a major award in the 86 year history of the Oscars.
This historical feat is a celebratory milestone not only for black film makers throughout the world but also for the Caribbean and more specifically Grenada. Although born in England; Steve Mc Queen’s parents are from Grenada; Crochu, St.Andrew.
There is no doubt that his early childhood experiences of discrimination within the school system and positive influences from his parents would have prepared him for attaining this success.
Grenada must be proud of this accomplishment and efforts should be made to invite him home; thereby providing an inspirational platform for aspiring artistes.
McQueen’s film, 12 Years a Slave is based on the 1853 autobiography by Solomon Northup. The film tells the story of a free black man who is kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery, working on plantations in the state of Louisiana for twelve years before being released.
In a world where fast action movies; science thrillers, sex, scandal and violence seem to take precedence over such stories of slavery and the harsh reality that African slaves had to undergo; Mc Queen must be commended for having the courage and belief to continue telling such stories and Grenada and the wider Caribbean must take note.
We must continue to tell the history to our children; not as a tool for harboring bitterness and hatred but more so as a foundation for our identity and self preservation.
A people who do not know their history can be likened to a tree without roots.
Congratulations Steve McQueen. I am sure that this is just the beginning of better things to come.