Say Brother, episode 2412: Moscow Black & White

A documentary examining the lives of Black people living in Russia, many of whom are African students studying at Moscow universities.

00:02Copy video clip URL A title card notes the name of this film, it’s producer and director, as well as the company in charge of production.

00:18Copy video clip URL Another title slide notes that this film is “a Say Brother Special Presentation.”

00:22Copy video clip URL Delores Handy introduces the film, which is a new series based on international reporting. She says that Andrew Jones will be hosting the program — An African American’s Journal.

01:10Copy video clip URL A title slide reading “Moscow” introduces the first edition of An African American’s Journal, and the film opens with a group of men toasting with shot glasses full of liquor.

01:40Copy video clip URL Andrew Jones describes a few features of Moscow, such as its geography and weather, as various b-roll shots play. He notes that his goal in this film is to examine the diversity of people and ideas in Moscow, especially in the context of the cities rich heritage.

03:00Copy video clip URL Andrew Jones notes that images of Black men and women living in Russia are not prominent in the Western world.

04:20Copy video clip URL Jones explores one example of African involvement in Russia; the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. It is named after Patrice Lumumba, the deceased leader of the Congo.

05:20Copy video clip URL Some young Black men speak about their experience with Lumumba University. One man notes that the university primarily trains students from “third-world countries.” He notes that the university has been recently renamed to People’s Friendship University.

06:50Copy video clip URL Another man tells of why he chose to come to the university in Moscow instead of an American institution; his birth in Moscow played a big role in that decision, he says.

07:40Copy video clip URL Jones then explains that the motivation for bringing African students to Moscow was to spread communism. For those students, though, a first-rate education was the main benefit.

08:25Copy video clip URL After the communist party left power, though, Jones says that the new government had different priorities.

09:10Copy video clip URL One of the Black men Jones has been interviewing speaks about the adaptability of the Russian people. He examines how they’ve been able to adapt to the quickly changing social landscape in their country in recent years.

09:45Copy video clip URL Another of the Black men Jones is interviewing speaks about how the attitude towards Black people in Russia has changed quite quickly in recent years.

11:00Copy video clip URL Jones talks with a Black woman who was born and raised in Moscow, with a Russian mother and Nigerian father. She speaks about people becoming more open-minded in recent years, and how that has improved her experience living in Russia. She attributes the improvements in attitudes to perestroika.

12:20Copy video clip URL Jones notes that just as the name of the Lumumba university changed, so too did its cost; whereas it was once a free educational institution, it now costs thousands of dollars for foreigners to attend. Jones notes that this has meant many students can no longer attend, while others are forced to contribute all of their money to tuition — skimping on things like food.

14:10Copy video clip URL Jones says that the transition to paid tuition has also brought in well-heeled Asian students.

14:50Copy video clip URL Jones talks about the dangers of being a foreigner in Russia. He interviews one man who saw his friend murdered.

15:50Copy video clip URL Jones talks to a man in a market, especially about the challenges of paying for things like fruit as prices have increased massively. One man explains that the quantity of goods has increased along with their prices and that this has actually advantaged well-off expats instead of native Russians.

17:30Copy video clip URL Jones explains that racism is nothing new in Russia, as the entire nation is a diverse group of ethnicities itself. Jones interviews a couple of Russians on this, and they explain that they believe racism is increasing within Russia. An Asian man whom Jones interviews explains that while he has a diverse friend group, he is still subjected to verbal abuse in Moscow.

19:48Copy video clip URL Jones talks with a man who saw Blackness as being more about music than his skin color. He explains that it was in the short time of congeniality between the U.S. and Russia from 1945-1947 that he came to appreciate jazz music and American culture. He attributes his love of jazz to having a “black soul.”

22:40Copy video clip URL One of the Black men Jones has been interviewing raps freestyle to demonstrate the skills which he hopes will allow him to become a successful musician.

23:59Copy video clip URL Jones begins interviewing Alana Thomas Coney, the daughter of a Russian mother and Ghanaian father. She has grown up exclusively in Russia, he says, and she explains that she has been singing and playing piano since a young age.

24:50Copy video clip URL Coney’s boyfriend explains that it was difficult for Alana to obtain her education in classical music, especially as somebody with African heritage. Coney then explains how she was called “chocolate girl” in school, and how she dealt with that. She scored the highest mark, a five, on her final examination in school.

25:50Copy video clip URL Jones compares the flow of life that of the Moscow river, as he says that its flow over obstacles should inspire the diverse people of Moscow.

26:36Copy video clip URL A title slide introduces the epilogue.

27:20Copy video clip URL As the credits are shown, a man instructs a violinist on playing a certain piece.

28:30Copy video clip URL Tape ends.

 

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