In the introduction to his new book, The Prophetic Lens, Phil Allen Jr. quotes a performer who has had his share of notoriety in front of the camera, not least of all his extraordinary behavior live on TV at the Oscars, that performer is of course, Will Smith, who when asked on a late-night talk show if racism is getting worse, Smith responds astutely with, “Racism is not getting worse, it’s getting filmed.” Allen takes us on a critical journey, recounting how he watched the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd on May 25, 2020, “I realized how indispensable the footage on the camera phone recorded by Darnella Frazier had become – the camera is not just technology that is indispensable for documentation; it is a prophetic tool for Black moral agency. The images captured by the camera have shed light on the violence endured by African Americans as well as pictures that depict blatant and subtle images of what white supremacy may look like. The pictures of Emmett Till catalyzed the Civil Rights Movement. The images of Bloody Sunday and other events captured the creative tension of the movement.” Allen chronicles the use of the camera from J.D. Griffiths’ Birth Of A Nation to how the prophetic scene of the killing of Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s classic film Do the Right Thing was a precursor to Eric Garner and George Floyd. In our conversation, Phil Allen Jr. ponders on what would have been the outcome if smartphones or CCTV cameras had been present at the killing of Travon Martin, and the untimely death of his grandfather in 1953.
Phil Allen Jr. is a pastor, poet, storyteller, filmmaker, and justice advocate. A former All-American NCAA athlete, Phil’s call to ministry led him to California, where he is a full-time pastor and a Ph.D. candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Also in the show, regular contributor, Dr. Binoy Kampmark offers his often idiosyncratic opinions on the following questions:
1. Could these be the beginning of the last days for Putin. How much trouble is he in behind the vast cloak of secrecy that is the Kremlin?
2. Could there be a more painful start for the Conservative leadership in Britain as Prime Ministers Truss plunges the UK economy into a never-seen-before turmoil?
3. Is the West looking the other way while rumors of upheaval behind the scenes in China could affect the Communist empire’s global footprint?
4. Does Italy now have a perfect Fascist leader who happens to be a woman?
5. New York Times reporter, Maggie Haberman unveils, Confidence Man, a disturbing reckoning of the 45th president, yet she doesn’t explain why she along with so many reporters failed to report what they now say they knew at the beginning?
Dr Binoy Kampmark is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban, and Social Studies, at RMIT University, Melbourne