The Documentary You Didn’t Know Samuel L. Jackson Told
In 2016, the actor teamed up with director Raoul Peck to narrate “I Am Not Your Negro,” a film based on the writings of James Baldwin. Baldwin’s “Remember This House” was never finished. The manuscript, which details the memories of friends and other civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. was just 30 pages when Baldwin died in 1887 (via The Atlantic). “I Am Not Your Negro” is inspired by “Remember this House”, reusing Baldwin’s words as film narration. The New York Times describes the documentary as “a posthumous collaboration, an eerie and thrilling communion between the filmmaker…and his subject,” a commentary that feels current (if not groundbreaking) despite being written a while ago. decades.
Samuel L. Jackson serves as the film’s narrator, reading excerpts from “Remember this House” among other passages from Baldwin’s personal letters and esteemed essays. The Guardian’s Jordan Hoffman called Jackson’s narration “one of the best things he’s done in years”. Intertwined are interview clips of Baldwin himself as well as scenes from modern media and politics – like Obama’s inauguration, for example. Jackson spoke about the documentary on Jimmy Kimmel Live, noting, “It’s very resonant in terms of what it talks about and what hasn’t changed.” Overall, Peck’s film highlights “how far America has come in the 50 years since he wrote those words.”