Black Tea: The New Civil Right is a feature length documentary film that examines the involvement of African-Americans in the Tea Party movement. The film explores Tea Party origins, racism, political identity and religious fundamentalism in 21st century America.
Since 2009, the Tea Party has had a presence on America’s political stage. It emerged as the nation was reeling from the financial collapse of 2008, and following the election of Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president. The movement’s message was divisive, and in virulent opposition to President Obama, leveling not-so-thinly veiled racist attacks that questioned his American citizenship, religious affiliation, and loyalties in ways that no president before has faced.
Following the 2010 mid-term elections, it gained control of the House, installed 11 more conservative Republican governors, and made good on its promise to stalemate the government and block President Obama at every turn.
Tea Party leadership has faced deep accusations from the mainstream that it promotes anti-minority and anti-immigrant sentiments. It’s actions and obstinance have twice brought the country to the brink of the “fiscal cliff,” have caused an unprecedented government shutdown during wartime, and have threatened legislation around health care and voting rights.
It has stirred a pot of division by accusing immigrants of being burdensome and African-Americans on welfare of being “lazy.” The movement has been defined as xenophobic and racist, and has proven its willingness to stall American progress—and thus the welfare of the most vulnerable of our society.
Yet, a considerable number of African-Americans call the Tea Party home.
Discussion of the Tea Party has been polarized—the movement is either reviled from the outside as a socially and religiously conservative flash-in-the-pan, or it is glorified from within as the movement that will save America. Black Tea challenges the Tea Party itself and our understanding of it as a movement shaping our political discourse.
Filmmakers Kevin J. Dotson and Katy Jordan of f/8 Productions explore the phenomenon of African-Americans as active members in a movement which has swelled to more than 3,000 groups nationwide, and comprises nearly 10 percent of the electorate. Through the voices of several Tea Party- affiliated African-Americans, Black Tea presents a story of self-identification in defiance of conventional labels, acceptance within a movement popularly known as being racist, and lingering discriminatory realities in “post-racial” America.
As an elder niece of MLK, Alveda King sat at home with the younger kids and watched her uncle deliver his famous “I Have a Dream Speech” on TV. Decades later, she would stand at the very same spot on the Lincoln Memorial, but with Glenn Beck and the Tea Party.
While her uncle sought freedom and equality through the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Alveda King, believes African-Americans today are finally free, but are yet unaware of it, and harkens back to Juneteenth—next week, June 19th—which celebrates the day when freed slaves finally got the news.
Begs the questions: what is freedom? and are we “free at last?”
Lenny McAllister, political strategist and former Congressional candidate, on diversity and the Tea Party’s message.
We call him “the Tea Party missionary,” and if you watch you’ll learn why:
Meet Bill Owens, Tea Party Philosopher. He says gay marriage could bring down our civilization. Watch his comments below.
Kevin is a photojournalist, writer and educator. As a photojournalist, he has covered the 2012 Republican Presidential Campaign, Mardi Gras in post-Katrina New Orleans, and numerous stories that are off-the-beaten path. A 17-year veteran school teacher and principal, his focus as an educator and photojournalist is always upon engaging in dialogues that spur critical thinking. He holds a B.A. in English from The University of Massachusetts at Boston, and an M.A. in Sociology from The New School for Social Research.
Katy is a producer, video editor, journalist, and teacher living in Boston, MA. A former political reporter and multimedia journalist for the Boston Herald, she now works as a freelance producer and editor for organizations in Boston and New York. She holds a B.A. from Hunter College and an M.A. from Emerson College, where she currently works as an adjunct professor of journalism.