The BBC has released the trailer for Mangrove the first film in the Steve McQueen production Small Axe, on the 50th anniversary of the revolutionary “Mangrove March”.

Mangrove
Image credit: BBC

On Sunday 9 August in 1970, 150 protesters of West Indian, African and South Asian heritage in Notting Hill, West London marched to local police stations in protest of police harassment in their communities including the Mangrove restaurant.

The film tells the true story of the Mangrove 9, the group of Black activists who clashed with the police during the protest, and their highly publicised trial that followed. The nine protest leaders – Frank Crichlow, Darcus Howe, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Barbara Beese, Rupert Boyce, Rhodan Gordon, Anthony Innis, Rothwell Kentish and Godfrey Millett – were arrested and charged with incitement to riot.

Mangrove tells the true story of the Mangrove 9, the group of Black activists who clashed with the police during the protest, and their highly publicised trial that followed.

The trial was the first judicial acknowledgment of behaviour motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police.

Speaking about the film trailer, Academy Award, Bafta, and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker, Steve McQueen, said: “Sunday, August 9th, is 50 years since the Mangrove March, which led to nine innocent Black women and men being arrested. It was a march necessitated by relentless police brutality in Notting Hill. To commemorate the bravery of these community activists and the nine who went on to be acquitted of incitement to riot with the judge citing ‘evidence of racial hatred’, I am sharing the trailer of Mangrove, one of five films to be released under the banner Small Axe.”

Mangrove
Letitia Wright in Mangrove
Image credit: BBC

Mangrove is one of five films from Small Axe, a drama anthology which comprises five original films by Steve McQueen. Set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, the films each tell a different story involving London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination. The title is derived from an African proverb, which has resonance throughout the Caribbean, “if you are the big tree, we are the small axe”.

The film stars Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, and Malachi Kirby alongside a stellar cast.


Watch the Small Axe film, Mangrove, below:


Small Axe will premiere on BBC One and iPlayer this autumn and air on Amazon Prime Video in the US.

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