Steve McQueen Is on a Mission to Mainstream Black British History with Three New Documentaries

Steve McQueen Is on a Mission to Mainstream Black British History with Three New Documentaries
Steve McQueen’s 2020 anthology film series “Small Axe” grew out of a desire to shed light on Black resistance movements in Britain, between the 1960s and 1980s. So, too, does a complementary new franchise of individual documentaries, executive produced by McQueen, which chronicle pivotal stories from recent British history largely ignored by media. Viewed collectively, the films make it clear that McQueen almost single-handedly aims to disrupt the preferred timeline with films that detail tumultuous crusades for change that cross borders, and still very much resonate today.

“When I was growing up, we did not learn about our own history unfortunately, which is why ‘Roots’ was so popular,” McQueen said, referring to the multiple Emmy-winning 1977 television miniseries. “Anything about any kind of Black history, even if it wasn’t great, or even if it wasn’t necessarily positive, Black people would flock to the television. I remember the streets were
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