“Like most poor people in the United States, I have no voice. The Black press and the progressive media, as well as Black civil rights organizations, have historically played an essential role in the struggle for social justice. We should continue and expand that tradition. We should create media outlets that help to educate our people and our children, and not annihilate their minds. I am only one woman. I own no TV stations or radio stations or newspapers. But I believe that people need to be educated as to what is going on and to understand the connection between the news media and the instruments of repression in America. All I have are my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth. But I sincerely ask those of you in the Black media, those of you in the progressive media and those of you who believe in truth and freedom to publish my story.’ -Assata Shakur
The Eyes of the Rainbow
Assata Shakur and Oya
An English language documentary
by the independent video group Imagines del Caribe
Gloria Rolando, Director: Havana, Cuba
Video, color, 47 min, 1997
Director of Photography: Raul Rodriguez, Jose M. Riera
Script and Director: Gloria Rolando
Assistant Director: Tony Romero
“Eyes of the Rainbow” deals with the life of Assata Shakur, the Black Panther and Black Liberation Army leader who escaped from prison and was given political asylum in Cuba, where she has lived for close to 15 years. In it we visit with Assata in Havana and she tells us about her history and her life in Cuba. This film is also about Assata’s AfroCuban context, including the Yoruba Orisha Oya, goddess of the ancestors, of war, of the cemetery and of the rainbow. Gloria Rolando on “Eyes of the Rainbow”:
“In the struggle of the African American people, many women’s voices in the past and the present have always called for social justice, women who throughout the years have shown integrity and firmness in their principles. For this reason, “The Eyes of the Rainbow” is dedicated to all women who struggle for a better world.
One of those voices that already forms a part of the history of the African American people is that of Assata Shakur. In the documentary “The Eyes of the Rainbow,” she recounts aspects of her path as relentless warrior. We are able to create a meeting with Assata Shakur through the symbols of AfroCuban culture, which offer us beautiful songs evoking the ancestors.
Representations of the Yoruba warrior orishas such as Oya and Ochosi support the discourse of this story, which also has its moments of poetry and tenderness as in the dance of Oshun, through which is illustrated Assata’s decision to become mother while still in prison.
The blues interpreted by Junius Williams and his “Magic Harp,” the songs of Sweet Honey in the Rocks, and the Cuban group “Vocal Baobab” give a special stamp to this valiant testimony which defines the spirit of struggle in the African American woman.”
Assistant Director: Antonio Romero
* Grupo Vocal Baobab
* Sweet Honey in the Rock
* Danza Nacional de Cuba
* Junius Williams and the Magic Harp