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Black Surfer Documentary "Whitewash" Narrated By Ben Harper, Black Thought Gets Release Date

by Tambay A. Obenson
August 1, 2011 7:00 AM
10 Comments
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Narrated by Ben Harper and Tariq "Black Thought" of The Roots, the 75-minuted documentary film Whitewash will be available on DVD and VOD on October 4, 2011.

In short, the film, directed by Ted Woods explores the history of rarely detailed surfing culture within the African American community, told from the POV of black surfers from Hawaii, Jamaica, Florida, and California, and includes archival footage and conversations with professors, historians, authors, and of course professional surfers.

In essence, Whitewash explores the issue of race and so-called “black consciousness” in America through the eyes and minds of black surfers.

From the press release:

Although surfing originated in Hawaii as part of Polynesian culture, Americans adopted a blonde-haired, blue-eyed male surfer cliché that still dominates the sport today. White Wash breaks all manifested barriers and explores the role of black surfers by introducing audiences to the likes of: Michael Green, Founder of Brooklyn Surfing; Rick Blocker, Black Surf Historian & Founder of BlackSurfing.com; Sal Masekela, TV Host, Sports Commentator, Actor & Singer; and Dr. Charles Ross, Author of “Outside The Lines”, just to name a few. Featured guests recount their personal journey, while discussing surf history, its origin, and its evolution, all the while preserving the love of catching that giant wave.

I first heard about the film a couple of years ago, when we first featured it. But this is the first bit of news I've heard of it since then. Good to know it'll finally be available for all to see.

Here's its trailer (full poster underneath):

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More: Coming Soon, New On VOD, New On DVD, Trailer

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10 Comments

  • Freedom | May 8, 2012 8:23 PMReply

    OMG! thank you... Thank you!! I am an Afro-mix female baby surfer. I was taught how to surf by my ex Korean Boyfriend. He posed the question to me, "why are there not many black surfers out there?" i replied "there are black surfers, you just have not seen them, and just like Asian men, the media/marketing does not really support them. So my question to you is, when you ask that why does the logic of this not come first, over stereo types?"

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  • Major Pain | November 29, 2011 12:29 AMReply

    “…Seriously, this thing could a been a half hour; our nation’s history is truly f--ked up; we’re just surfers, the ocean doesn’t give a sh** if you’re black, white, or brown, it will humble us all; and Buttons is the man.” ~ SURFING Magazine (January 2012 Issue regarding the movie “WHITE WASH”)

    As One who personally knows what is was like in South Carolina:
    1. NOT to be able to drink from Public Water Fountains,
    2. NOT to be able to attend elementary schools which were not segregated,
    3. NOT to be able to go outside after Sunset because of the presence of The Ku Klux Klan, The John Birch Society, and / or simply Mean - Spirited and Racist White Folks who Committed heinous Acts With Impunity,
    4. NOT to be able to see movies at the local theaters, if there was no “Colored Only Section,”
    5. NOT to be able to go to The Beach (except on Holidays like Independence Day, when Blacks from all over the state, would take a bus to Myrtle Beach to see Folks such as James Brown and Other Black Recording Artists, and once again look for that sign that read “Colored Only Section,”

    I simply say; As usual, it epitomizes why I created Facebook sites regarding HISTORY, rather than HIS STORY. NO actual Black Surfers were involved in the creative process of the movie. So, as with the movie, SURFING Magazine once again demonstrates how Someone who can never know, is usually The One, who actually speaks the loudest, regarding Someone Else’s plight…????????

    I shall not bother dignifying the grammatical errors and phrases such as “could a been,” rather than “could have been,” which “Speak Volumes”……….. (Perhaps, the author is probably yet ANOTHER “Home - Schooled Surfer,” who never had to sit in class, “Next To - A - Negro.”)

  • Rickb | September 10, 2011 12:43 PMReply

    I was fortunate enough to view the west coast Premiere of the movie "White Wash" at the Leammle Sunset 5 theater in Hollywood last night. Although biased on the subject, (being a black surfer for most of my life) I found watching it to be a wonderfully enlightening experience. In a very sensitive manner, it seeks to present some alternate views to American history and cultural norms as they relate to race and the black aquatic experience. I felt good about the movie, it's goals and accomplishments and ultimately I felt happy to have been a part of Ted Wood's project on the topic. I do hope others of you (especially in the Black community) get the chance to view this film, so that you may judge it for yourselves. peace

  • Maui Goodbeer | August 15, 2011 2:20 AMReply

    See hundreds of inner city kids learning to surf for free as StreetWaves works to keep them off of the streets and into the ocean. Visit www.streetwaves.org

  • Maj MB Parlor | August 5, 2011 6:05 AMReply

    I am looking forward to viewing “WHITEWASH.” I was the only Black on my college’s Surfing Team, Sailing Team, and I was The Head Lifeguard. No one else has more Surfing Photographs upon Facebook than I at some of my Facebook Sites:

    SURFING (A Tribute To The Women)

    SURFING (A TRIBUTE TO THE WOMEN)

    SURFING CALIFORNIA TO SOUTH CAROLINA

    I Was A Sailing Bum

    Semper Fi,
    “Major Pain”

  • Arlene | August 4, 2011 9:26 AMReply

    I look forward to buying the DVD and sharing with my family and friends. When I say I want to learn to surf (52yo black overweight female), I get a lot of disbelief. When I can, I'll do what I can, within my means to learn to surf and then DO IT as often as i can.

  • urbanauteur | August 2, 2011 5:01 AMReply

    What a great unearth cultural seashell;)

  • Cynthia | August 2, 2011 3:35 AMReply

    Same here Tamara. However, I do like to swim. Just don't like getting my hair wet. As stereotypical as that sounds, it's true. *womp womp*

  • Nikki | August 2, 2011 1:04 AMReply

    I'll check this out. I agree I love movies that feature us doing something "out of the norm".

  • Tamara | August 1, 2011 8:53 AMReply

    Interested. Most def. with nary a swimmer/surfer-bone in my body I look forward to this. I love seeing viewpoints from our perspective in areas of culture where we are not readily associated. The skater culture (terry kennedy), the punk rock culture (afropunk), travel (dhani jones) and now this.

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