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Documentary Review: 'Kaepernick & America' is a Must See

Police violence continues and documentaries like Kaepernick & America are needed spotlights on the issues.

By Sean PatrickPublished 2 years ago 5 min read

Kaepernick & America (2022)

Directed by Ross Hockrow, Tommy Walker

Written by Documentary

Starring Nate Boyer, Hue Jackson, April Dinwoodie

Release Date September 2nd, 2022

As I write this review on September 1st, 2022, it's less than 24 hours since Police in Columbus, Ohio, murdered an unarmed black man in the middle of the night. 20 year old Donovan Lewis was in bed in the apartment he was sharing with two other men. Police came in the middle of the night to execute an arrest warrant on unspecified charges. Two men were removed from the apartment and it was indicated to Police that Lewis remained behind.

A canine officer, Ricky Anderson, a man with 30 years of experience, was admitted to the scene and informed whoever was behind the closed door of Donovan's bedroom that the dog was to be set loose if this person did not respond. When the door was opened, body camera footage indicated that he barely waited for the dog to move before he'd shot Donovan Lewis. According to the Officer, he saw Lewis had something in his hand. That something was a vape pen.

April Dinwoodie Kaepernick & America

And somehow, there are those of you reading this and still wondering why Colin Kaepernick took a knee? It's been 6 years since Colin Kaerpernick knelt in protest of Police violence against black people. At the time, his protest came in the wake of riots in Ferguson, Missouri, where an unarmed 18 year old had been shot and killed by Police leading to days, weeks and months of protests and more Police violence. And only a month before Kaep's protest, Philando Castile had been shot SEVEN times during what should have been routine traffic stop with his girlfriend and her four year old son in the car.

And in the time since Kaepernick became a right wing punching bag for simply expressing peaceful outrage over these injustices, we've seen the deaths of so many innocent black people due to Police violence that listing them would take up the rest of this article. The most high profile, of course, being the murder of George Floyd by a Police Officer with no regard for the life of a man he didn't even know was an actual criminal. The world watched this vile Police bully kneel on another man's neck as the man begged for his life for more than 8 minutes. The world was shocked and somehow people still questioned Colin Kaepernick and whether he'd kneel today were he not shadow banned from the NFL.

Don Lemon Kaepernick & America

White privilege is being able to look at the unending list of injustices committed against black people in America and still being able to wonder why Black Lives Matter came to be. White privilege or simple racism, they appear to go hand in hand. Stranger still, I'm old enough to remember Rodney King and the heinous beating given to him. That ended up being spun as merely the acts of bad apples in one big city Police department and we all went back to pretending everything was okay.

This is all to say that apparently we still need a documentary like Kaepernick & America. I'd love to believe that we've finally started to understand and come around to Colin Kaepernick and his protest but the reality is, no, no we have not. On the same day that Donovan Lewis was murdered by the quick trigger of a Police Officer who couldn't tell the difference between a vape pen and a gun, things such as the investigation of Donald Trump, Sarah Palin losing a run-off election, and President Biden's national address on divisiveness, dominate the headlines and Donovan Lewis gets only a passing mention among the promises made by Columbus Police to 'thoroughly investigate' this incident.

Deray McKesson Black Lives Matter Kaepernick & America

I can't claim to be any better. In the time since Kaepernick's protest I've attended one Black Lives Matter protest and signed a few petitions. I don't have the answers to stopping Police violence but at least I want to find those answers. As noted strongly in Kaepernick & America, people would rather direct their vitriol at an athlete making a perfectly legitimate protest than examine the issue of why so many innocent black people end up being murdered by Police year after year after year.

Even as Kaepernick & America doesn't even have an interview with Colin Kaepernick to make its point, we still need it. We need all the light in the world that we can get on the issue of Police violence. We also need to continually expose the clown tactics of those who would try to denigrate an athlete simply for making a peaceful gesture protest. Whether it is a documentary on Colin Kaepernick, a Black Lives Matter Protest, a television sitcom simply paying lip service to the effects of Police violence, sunshine and air, that's what these issues need.

Nate Boyer told Kaep to take a Knee instead of sitting down Kaepernick & America

There needs to be a big spotlight on the murder of Donovan Lewis. We need more and more coverage of this death and even more coverage of solutions. Whether that is more rigorous anti-racism training in Police Department's nationwide or an honest discussion of defunding the Police, something has to change. We have to do something different. At the very least, Kaepernick & America keeps the conversation going. The documentary gives us a linear and necessary history of Colin Kaepernick's protest, where it came from, and where it stands.

In that way, I really want you to see Kaepernick & America. It's in limited theatrical release as of September 2nd, 2022. Find my archive of more than 20 years and 2000 movie reviews online at Follow me on Twitter at PodcastSean and follow the archive blog at SeanattheMovies. Listen to me talk about movies on the Everyone's a Critic Movie Review Podcast on your favorite podcast app. And, if you liked what you have read, consider leaving me a tip here on Vocal.

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About the Creator

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast I am a voting member of the Critics Choice Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

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