Obatala Mawusi/Damon Jamal
In the new film titled Colin Kaepernick, co-directors Damon Jamal and Obatala Mawusi explore the recent polarization behind the San Francisco 49er quarterback's kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem for what the NFL star calls "social atrocities."
"This was an important piece for me because I personally feel like, as black men, we don't have a lot of outspoken, successful role models who are willing to risk everything to make their point," Jamal said to REVOLT.
Jamal also looks back in his documentary to other trailblazing black athletes such as Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Curt Flood, who risked their lives and career to engage in social activism.
"Kap's heroism is in line with many other black athletes over the past 100 years, but there are also many who are not willing to go out on a limb, so my hope is that this short film will encourage those who are compelled to speak up for what they feel is right," Jamal continued. "There are strength in numbers and right now in particular the world is paying attention to us in a different way.
Colin Kaepernick was funded by independent company The Campaign for Black Male Achievement as part of the program Black Male Re-Imagined III. The initiative was created to provide support and celebrate black men and women who live their dreams and stand up against pre-judgement, including those who are cis-gender, transgender, and gender non-conforming.
"Kaepernick's outspoken stance on the myriad issues facing black communities—such as the physical, mental and psychological trauma black people are dealing with as a result of rampant police violence—reminds of the spirit of other great athletes like Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, Tommie Smith and Jim Brown who used their platform to shine light on the challenges facing black people in America and across the globe," said the film's executive producer Ephraim Walker.
Walker added, "So through Black Male Re-Imagined and in our Rumble Young Man, Rumble event that we are hosting this week in Louisville, Kentucky, we wanted to ensure we captured this moment by telling a story that elevated this history of athletes taking a stand for our community and challenging the perception that Black male athletes are not willing to stand for our communities' concerns."