Who is Menelik Shabazz?
Born in Barbados, the filmmaker Menelik Shabazz whose body of work in documentary and drama (including “Burning An Illusion”, “Step Forward Youth” and ‘The Story of Lovers Rock’) stretches over 40 years, is regarded as one of the godfathers of Black British cinema. His untimely death on June 28th 2021 continues to leave a big hole. Burning An Illusion (1981) was the first depiction of black love in British cinema and was the second feature film ever to be helmed by a Black British director following Sir Horace Ove’s “Pressure” (1976). In the late 1990s, Menelik developed Black Filmmaker Magazine (BFM) as a publication to report and document on black world cinema having conceived the idea upon returning from the Cannes Film Festival and spotting a gap in the market. The magazine evolved into an annual film festival which ran for over a decade. Nowadays, the magazine can be found on display at the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) in London.