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Inner Vision: A story that finds its time

Collection:
Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Contributor:
Wambu,Onyekachi (Author)
Format:
Newspaper Article
Publication Date:
1996-07-16
Published:
London, UK
Location:
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
Blacks, Great Britain, Television, Caribbean, Culture, Black culture, Minority & ethnic groups, Entertainment, Phillips, Caryl
Notes:
Watching Caryl Phillips' excellent The Final Passage was a difficult process. Not just because it was a brilliant exploration of the last 30 years or so, showing the achievements and limitations of the Windrush generation, but, more importantly, because it exposed how we have been starved of intelligent, well-made Black programmes which offer us the possibility of serious reflection on our condition in this country. Phillips achieves a wonderful thing in his drama - he converts all our individual stories of moving to Britain and setting up home into a mass celebration of common history. The Final Passage thus becomes a template of sorts of the recent beginnings of Black Britain. Whether we are from an African or Caribbean background, there were scenes and emotions which we all recognised from our own histories. Control Many people didn't like The Final Passage because they felt that it yet again reinforced the negative view of Black men. But they need to be reminded that this is a work of fiction, not reality. And Caryl Phillips' main achievement in the series is to give us, in [Michael], the first truly great tragic-heroic Black character on British television. The lessons of his life should resonate in our time - a sort of angled mirror. He will remain a constant reminder of the need to bury the `colonial creation' - the Black man who is only able to manifest himself through his dreams rather than through the reality of day-to-day action.