Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Scientific Accuracy in Film - Neil deGrasse Tyson Reacts to Negative Reactions to His Reviews of Science Fiction Films Scientific Accuracy in Film - Neil deGrasse Tyson Reacts to Negative Reactions to His Reviews of Science Fiction Films 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) Barbie Is Honoring Ava DuVernay (and Other "Sheroes") With Her Very Own Doll. Have a Look... Barbie Is Honoring Ava DuVernay (and Other "Sheroes") With Her Very Own Doll. Have a Look... BET Unveils 2015-2016 Slate Additions: New Original Scripted & Unscripted Series, Movies, News Specials & More BET Unveils 2015-2016 Slate Additions: New Original Scripted & Unscripted Series, Movies, News Specials & More Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney Will Return to 'Gotham' Streets with a New Look & Tougher Than Ever Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney Will Return to 'Gotham' Streets with a New Look & Tougher Than Ever Mo'Nique Presents Email Evidence That Shows She Was in Contention for the Role of Cookie in 'Empire' Mo'Nique Presents Email Evidence That Shows She Was in Contention for the Role of Cookie in 'Empire' Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library In May Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library In May James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson Will Share a Stage Again in a Revival of 'The Gin Game' James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson Will Share a Stage Again in a Revival of 'The Gin Game' Watch: Michael Jackson’s Movie Career Summed Up in 7 Minutes Watch: Michael Jackson’s Movie Career Summed Up in 7 Minutes Watch First Trailer for 'Desperate Housewives - Africa' + Individual Character Profiles Watch First Trailer for 'Desperate Housewives - Africa' + Individual Character Profiles Watch Trailer for Jordan Davis Documentary, '3 1/2 Minutes.' Coming to HBO This Fall Watch Trailer for Jordan Davis Documentary, '3 1/2 Minutes.' Coming to HBO This Fall Here Are the Cities & Theaters in Which Patrik-Ian Polk's Award-Winning Drama 'Blackbird' Will Open Here Are the Cities & Theaters in Which Patrik-Ian Polk's Award-Winning Drama 'Blackbird' Will Open Trailer: Pilot Project 'First Gen' (The Trials and Tribulations of Being a First Gen Nigerian-American) Trailer: Pilot Project 'First Gen' (The Trials and Tribulations of Being a First Gen Nigerian-American) Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Whoopi Goldberg & Daughter Alex Martin Enter Reality TV Series Ring Whoopi Goldberg & Daughter Alex Martin Enter Reality TV Series Ring Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

2012 ABFF Review: Eye-Opening 'Contradictions of Fair Hope' Gives Lesson in Identity & Dignity

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act June 23, 2012 at 11:41AM

S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf’s directorial debut Contradictions of Fair Hope, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, documents the nation’s last surviving philanthropic society. Founded in Alabama by freed slaves after emancipation, the Fair Hope Benevolent Society began as Black Americans joined to fund funerals and burials; efforts to preserve human dignity and in turn lift the community’s morale by honoring the lives of ex-slaves amidst oppression.
1
Contradictions

S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf’s directorial debut Contradictions of Fair Hope, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, documents the nation’s last surviving philanthropic society. Founded in Alabama by freed slaves after emancipation, the Fair Hope Benevolent Society began as Black Americans joined to fund funerals and burials; efforts to preserve human dignity and in turn lift the community’s morale by honoring the lives of ex-slaves amidst oppression.

'Indeed the society’s history is revelatory and eye opening. More so when you take into consideration that over the years, the Society’s annual celebration has been co-opted by a notorious outdoor “Foot Wash” festival, set on the rental property of the society members, many of aren’t aware of the full extent of criminal activities - a market of guns, drugs prostitution – held in the festivals tents.

The documentary begins with a thorough historical account given by the descendants of the original members and society workers, who tell of the oral history, carried through generations. They also tell amusing stories of their own lives and the fun activities they took place in during celebrations in the woods. And, said activities aren’t what you’d imagine.

“What were you doing in the woods?” asks the interviewer, which the society elder answers, “I was…dancing,” while laughing ashamedly. Such innocent moments of hilarity make the overall story all the more poignant, as we see footage of current the “Foot Wash” celebration: young women scantily clad wearing exotic/stripper apparel in the back of trucks and dancing for men nude in tents, other tents selling ammunition, which men carry and show off in the premises. The festivalgoers also tell the viewer candid accounts of engaging in said activities and witnessing a vast drug market in the tents.

It’s all for profit, and society members opt to almost live in denial. They hear of things going on but they don’t want to get involved. In one scene, the Foot Wash’s manager of the strippers’ tent, "Magic Mike," and some of the strippers are invited to a religious ceremony in celebration of the society’s anniversary. We find out that "Magic Mike," a seemingly grounded young man despite his work, is the son of one of the society’s directors; "Magic" is named trustee at the ceremony.

Hence the contradictions of Fair Hope, a captivating and through-provoking documentary which gives the viewer a unwavering lesson of identity and pride without being preachy or heavy-handed.

This article is related to: Reviews, Documentary


Shadow & ActNewsletter