I have to say that Mo Asumang is one brave person. Not many would do what she has done several times over already.
But before I get into that, a little background first. Since the mid-1990’s Ms. Asumang has been a very popular TV personality and host in Germany, as well as an actress, appearing in several films since the late 80s.
However her life changed forever when, several years ago, she happened to hear a song from a Neo-Nazi heavy metal rock band in which there was a line that was a death threat against her: “This bullet is for you, Mo Asumang.”
Shocked and repelled, she decided not to ignore it, but instead to make a documentary, released in 2007, exploring racism in Germany and her identity as a black woman born and raised in Germany, titled Roots Germania.
She followed that film with her 2010 documentary Road to Rainbow, about the still lingering affects of apartheid in South Africa today.
Now Ms. Asumang turns her attention to us, or rather the U.S., in her new documentary The Aryans, which, last month, begun playing the film festival circuit.
In her new film, as she did with Germany with her first film, she explores racism in the U.S. and the concept of the Aryan identity, traveling throughout this country, talking and interviewing Klansmen, white supremacists and Neo-Nazis.
Now, of course that sounds crazy and dangerous, but it makes sense since, if you want to explore a subject, you can’t do it from your comfy seat safe at home. Instead you have to get close to it as much as possible. That’s what I meant by her being a brave person. Not many would have the nerves of steel to personally meet and engage with some really depraved and dangerous racists, to ask them what they think of black people and their beliefs; but for Ms. Asumang, that was the only way to get inside their heads and to come to grips with her subject.
The film was screened in Berlin and Washington D.C. last week, and received the Ongoren Award for Democracy and Human Rights in March, as well as both the Best World Cinema Documentary and Audience Award favorite at the Phoenix Film Festival. No doubt it will be playing in other cities and festivals throughout the year.
And though there is a website for the film (HERE), there isn’t yet a trailer for it, though one is currently in the works. However there is a video interview with Ms. Asumang and DeWayne Wickham, dean of Morgan State University's School of Global Journalism and Communication which contains some brief scenes and images from the film, which you can watch below: