A film that recently made its world premiere in Atlanta bears a provocative title and a complex subject matter.
Fear of a Black Republican is a documentary about Black Republican candidates, how they are treated by the Republican and Democratic parties and how the parties view and treat African-American voters. A good portion of the documentary was filmed in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.
Some 100 people were interviewed for the film, including former president George W. Bush, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, Sen. John McCain, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and commentator Tavis Smiley.
The film’s director Kevin Williams said he’s been working on the project for the past six and a half years.
A Georgia woman whose story plays a prominent role in the film is Stone Mountain’s Catherine Davis, who in 2006 ran unsuccessfully against Hank Johnson for then-Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s 4th Congressional District seat. Williams said he met Davis in 2006 at a conservative action conference, the two hit it off and she agreed to grant him access to her campaign.
The film debuted on June 23 at the Landmark Theatre in Atlanta. It also had screenings in North Carolina in Charlotte and Greensboro.
Williams, who’s White and Republican, said the film isn’t partisan and his goal was to fairly portray why both parties act as they do toward the African-American electorate. And he said he wanted to “explore why there are so few Black Republicans and what that means for the greater two-party system.”
“It’s a movie everybody should see,” said Williams.
Davis said although she didn’t know she would be featured so extensively in the film, she is pleased with the outcome.
“He told the truth,” said Davis “The Republican Party did not support my campaign because of the nature of the district. There was little to no expectation that the Black community would support a Black Republican.”
The movie shows the “lack of regard that the party has for some of its candidates,” according to Davis, who added, “As long as the African-American community remains primarily a one-party voting block, we lack real political power.”
Williams said he spent a good deal of time in Georgia following Davis’s campaign while filming her at meet-and-greets and other events. He said he was surprised that as a 43-year-old Yankee (he grew up and resides in New Jersey) he was treated so graciously while in the South.
Williams explained that Fear of a Black Republican provides an “intimate profile of what it’s like to be a candidate” and how hard Black Republicans have to work.
Asked what was his biggest surprise from his research, he said “how focused the parties are on the very next election…They don’t see the larger picture.”
For more information on the film, visit www.fearofablackrepublican.com.