Musician and activist Pravini Baboeram presents “The Uprising”, a music documentary that tells the story of resistance against racism in Europe. With commentary and experiences from academics and activists, the Dutch-Indian singer/songwriter offers a decolonial perspective on the anti-racism movement in the Netherlands, UK and France. She not only provides an analysis of the history and legacy of colonialism, but also a vision on strategy for the future of the movement.
This documentary zooms in on collective challenges of communities of color. In 9 self-written songs Pravini connects the fight against Blackface, the struggle for the recognition of colonial crimes that the Netherlands has committed in Indonesia, the fight for the liberation of Palestine and the struggle in the political field for an inclusive society. “The Uprising” offers a unique view of the resistance against racism in Europe through the eyes of people of color.
Pravini: Why I made this film
This film tells the story I was looking for but couldn’t find. Countless films have been made that touch on issues related to racism. But very few of them actually address the link with the colonial past and the common challenges different communities of color face. And none of the films I encountered focus on the European context and current struggles of people of color.
I also noticed a lot of stories were meant to convince white people of the problem. But these films didn’t show anything people of color don’t already know. Ofcourse they provide an important platform for underrepresented stories and experiences. But what I was looking for was more than storytelling. I was looking for analysis of institutional racism. I was looking for a language to challenge people who uphold this system, whether they are aware of it or not. I was looking for a story that connected the dots between different communities who are fighting the same system of oppression. I was looking for a story not to convince white people of the problem, but to empower people of color to challenge and combat it.
When I started writing my new album, I realized it was the story I was looking for. Every song we wrote was a piece of the puzzle, a bigger picture that told the story of resistance through the eyes of people of color. This story wasn’t just based on music, but the songs were accompanied with images in my head. With every song and every image people popped up in my mind who educated me on these issues. The more the album progressed, the more I heard a whisper in my head telling me to take that step. To make that film that I was searching for. Because I knew that if I was looking for it, many others were trying to find the same thing.
In January 2018 I decided to take the leap. 9 songs, 13 interviews and countless hours of footage later the film I was looking for is finally here. The journey of making it has inspired me on many levels. From the conversations with the people who were willing to share their analysis, to the collaborations with people who believed in the project, to stepping out of my own comfort zone as an artist and make my directorial debut. The Uprising has inspired and empowered me. I hope it does the same for you.