Cannes World Film Festival Finalists – what does it mean? George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo – WHO WILL BE NEXT? WILL I BE NEXT?


We are in the final – another film festival success for our project. For those of you who missed it I wrote “Make America Love Again”  after hearing Spike Lee – in a moment of inspiration find those words. They inspired me and I wrote the song that night.

I have asked myself repeatedly if this ambition – to create a new American Anthem is of any value given the bigger picture, given the reality of what is happening in the USA. Can I really make a difference?

My answer fluctuates between “no” and “maybe”. In the “no” is a sense of powerlessness, at the seeming immutability of racism in the police and institutions in the US and across the world. In the “maybe” is the knowledge that change only comes when individuals have ideas, connect with others and start to agitate for change. Emma Dabiri says “linking our struggles together is the work of coalition-building, a vision wherein many people can see their interest identified and come together for the common good. We can start to tell new stories rather than fall back on fault lines that were designed to divide us”.

Thus I can and do care, I do feel connected and solidarity with George Floyd and all the other victims of brutality and violence. I have been subjected to brutality and violence in my on life. I have been bullied and picked on, scared for my life. I was once asked if I had any connection to the Holocaust. I was angry, for every Jew the Holocaust experience is ingrained in every cell and so is the fear of being singled out, that it could so easily happen again.

There is a part of me constantly vigilant, on a dark night, in a crowded bar – wondering who is out to get me, how can I be safe. WHO WILL BE NEXT? WILL I BE NEXT? If this is only a small degree of the experience of the experience of being focused on for the colour of your skin it is still too much and sometimes unbearable. Cultural trauma lives on through the generations and in our fight against racism and injustice we are looking for healing on an individual and a societal level. In Spike Lee’s film Black Klansman Ron Stallworth says “If one black man, aided by a bevy of good, decent, dedicated, open-, and liberal-minded whites and Jews can succeed in prevailing over a group of white racists by making them look like the ignorant fools they truly are, then imagine what a nation of like-minded individuals can accomplish.”

I conclude that my efforts mean something, that they are worth it, that I can try in my own way to make a difference, to promote unity and solidarity. As Emma Abiri says “I am doing something not just saying something”. That is enough for me to keep at this for a very long time!