As we all know, during Black History month many schools put on additional events and programs to honor Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglas and all the usual non-violent people we learned about in grade school. But I guess that is one of the benefits in attending an HBCU. We don’t have to wait around until Black History month to celebrate these individuals, but we celebrate year round and we honor, respect and give praise and thanks to all.
One of the events this week that is taking place is the one I think most students will enjoy is the Black Film Festival. I had the pleasure of attending one of the viewings for the film festival. Although it was only for a short time, I must say that I appreciate the departments who put on the event. The showing of the movie Blood Diamond was necessary and imperative. The movie is a must see for those who are not familiar with it.
Blood Diamond is about, a young white African named Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is street smart and has made a business out of selling conflict diamonds, alongside an African man, Solomon Vandy (Dijmon Hounsou), whose family was torn apart due to the ongoing war in Sierra Leone. Both cross paths when a diamond is the only way out of the war-torn country for both men. With a help of a hungry reporter (Jennifer Connelly), they embark on an epic journey.
This movie brought greater awareness to the issue of conflict diamonds, which are smuggled out of Africa, or confiscated from Africans who are trying to make it out of their war-torn countries. But the real issue with these diamonds is that people pay millions of dollars for these diamonds and the country from which they are taken from does not receive any profit. Imagine having to kill, steal and fight for a better life, or working in diamond mines that are dangerous to your health and this is your only way out of your country. Even though your countries natural resource is diamonds, your country does not receiving any profit from the millions of dollars that are smuggled out of the country yearly and sold on a free market.
Many celebrities have started campaigns to support companies who do not purchase or make profits from conflict diamonds. If watching the movie is too much for you, then watch Kanye West’s video “Diamonds from Sierra Leone.” The video gives a glimpse of how young children are literally dying from these mines just for some rich, corporate individuals to make a profit.
Now although I enjoyed the movie and the short time I was there, I was quite disturbed to see that a lot of the students were not even paying attention to the movie, aside from the shooting and fighting scenes. Some were sleep and there were only about 20 to 25 students in attendance.
This saddens me, because many ask why our university does not hold more functions or more free events, but when our school hosts events that are meaningful and thought provoking we don’t take part in them.