Uptown Film: Black Panther pens love letter to Harlem | Salon

BY PETER COOPER

The activist Jamal Joseph outside the Black Panther Party headquarters in New York in 1970. (Photo: David Fenton | Getty Images)

The activist Jamal Joseph outside the Black Panther Party headquarters in New York in 1970. (Photo: David Fenton | Getty Images)

“We don’t necessarily have to have something blow up in the first five minutes,” said Jamal Joseph. “We don’t necessarily have to have a laugh in the first 30 seconds in order to get an audience involved if we have a real representation, if people can see, hear and feel themselves on the screen.”

Joseph, a Black Panther, professor and filmmaker, stopped by the Salon studio to discuss his first feature film, “Chapter & Verse.” The film, co-written by Daniel Beaty, follows a black man who, upon returning to Harlem after an eight-year prison sentence, must cope with how the neighborhood changed, as well as how it didn’t . “Chapter & Verse” premieres today, Feb. 3, at MIST Harlem, and on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles and select U.S. cities.

As a black man who has lived in Harlem, I was immediately pulled toward Joseph’s work. There are also some parallels between the film and Joseph’s own life; he spent almost 10 years in prison for his involvement with the Black Panther Party and had to reintroduce himself to the city.

Click below for the awesome video Q&A with Jamal Joseph.

Read more: Uptown Video: Black Panther pens love letter to Harlem | Salon

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