View: Video

Step Forward Youth

Cat No: DSS0014
Duration: 00:29:14
Date: 1977
Location: Unknown
Original format: Unknown
Colour: Colour



Director's statement:
'It was the mid-seventies and black youth mostly British born were being perceived through the media as thieves and criminals (what’s changed?). I was upset by this interpretation and wanted to show a different reality to media sensationalism. It was a time when those growing up here or born here in the UK were treated as outcasts and invisible- unless something negative happened. As with one incident I remember when two youths robbed an elderly women who died in Birmingham. The Judge gave them 21 years!! We lived in the shadows of Enoch Powell’s speech predicting black immigration would lead to conflict and ‘blood on our streets’. I was living in another reality of Macolm X, Black Panthers, Angela Davis and George Jackson which was shaping my views about the world I wanted to change. STEP FORWARD YOUTH was my first film project. The title came from a reggae tune of the same name by Prince Jazzbo. I wanted this film to be relevant to my community more than looking for outside recognition. I teamed up with David Kinoshi who was also the same film school to make the film. We became very close, we hung out, chased girls, went raving together we were gonna change the film world. In those days we were shooting on raw 16mm film stock which was expensive, but we were not daunted. With the help of a few donors we managed to gather enough to give encouragement. The main funder was David’s uncle who was a fairly rich Nigerian. He owned an apartment in St Johns Wood, London. To get his money we had to turn up at his apartment at 10am regularly, he kept us waiting for hours whilst he had a bath, and talked on the phone. His display of power didn’t go down too well with us till eventually we got tired of playing his game. Anyway he coughed some of the money. It wasn’t enough and I had to make a decision about whether we should stop and wait to get more money or keep going. I decided to keep going – it was the most important decision of my life – aged 21. We continued on, and with a few favours managed to edit and complete the film and Uncle came in with some more money that helped us through the film procession costs.'

Production Credits

Menelik Shabazz


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