ALIVE IN BRONZE: Huey P. Newton (2022) Movie Script

In America,
Black people
are treated very much
as any other colonized people.
And the police are there
not to support our welfare
or for our security
and our safety,
but they're there
to contain us,
to brutalize
and murder us.
The Black Panther Party
for Self-Defense
is organized now throughout
the nation,
and we advocate that
all Black people in America
are taught what politics
is all about
and what our history is
all about
so that we can have
and we can know where
our strength is,
we will know our enemies,
and we will know our friends.
When I went to the courthouse,
it was electric.
The "Free Huey!" movement
was a backdrop
of our lives those days.
And to see him get up there,
and, you know,
looking up at him,
everything was just glistening.
Power to the people!
I just felt like this is our...
this is our savior.
It astonishes me that the city,
thats home to
the Black Panther Party,
has done nothing in any way
to honor them.
Huey died on these
streets in Oakland,
and the spot where he died
is just empty.
There's no burial location
for Huey.
There's no headstone for Huey.
There's nothing that marks
his living,
let alone his passing.
Fredrika Newton, Huey's widow,
contacted me to create
a plaque
that would go on the exact spot
where he was murdered.
So I said to her,
"You know, Fredrika,
"I can create a bust of Huey.
She said "Let's do it."
This will be
the first monument
that pays tribute
to that history, anywhere.
And the fact that it hasn't been
done is criminal.
The fact that it's about to be
done is amazing.
The Huey P. Newton sculpture
will be my sixth piece.
This piece is important
and represents
the Black Panther Party.
But I'm creating this
for a woman
whose husband was murdered.
And when she comes over
and she looks at him,
I can see the love
in her eyes.
This picture is the
first day that I met Huey,
at my mom's house.
After he'd been released
from prison,
my mother invited Huey over.
She was working with
the Black Panther Party
as a real estate agent.
The house was full of people.
Everybody was crowded around
They were all asking him
I just asked him what it was
like in prison,
and he responded
really thoughtfully.
That's what caught
my heart, really,
that it was really lonely
in prison.
It was that night that I went
over to his apartment and saw
just how lonely it was outside
of prison for him as well.
Huey and I were in and out
of a relationship
for 13 years before
we were later married.
People know Huey as just
the co-founder
of the Black Panther Party,
but he was so much more
than that.
The man that I knew
was tender,
he was strong,
he was courageous.
Huey was fearless.
Revolution is
the only solution
Ba Bow Revolution
is the only solution
On a local level,
the fascist police
are suppressing, repressing
the White revolutionaries
as well as the Blacks
who speak of
and who are attempting
to attain liberation.
So I am not standing
for violence,
but I do stand for
is the only solution
Today. Today. Today. Today.
Today, you
know we gotta have a
Revolution is
the only solution
Every sculpture I start
terrifies me.
Halfway through, I wonder
if I'm ever gonna hit
that point where that person
is revealed.
If it falls apart,
I rebuild it.
If it's not right, I cut it open
and start again.
I mean, I just have to do
this work.
Sculptures are more
than our history.
They allow us to be seen.
I feel like the monuments that
exist in the United States
do not reflect the depth
and breadth of who we are.
Representation matters.
We have every right
to have memorials
of Black bodies in bronze
all across this nation.
How old were you
when Huey died?
I was 37.
Oh, wow.
That's a young widow.
I know. I didn't feel
so young then but...
And to think he was just 47
when he died.
He lived so many lifetimes.
Did he ever struggle with
his lightness?
Mm-hmm. Because his
grandfather was White--
and raped the grandmother
is the story.
So, yeah, I think that's
probably why he fought so much.
I avoided the Black Panther
Party office
because I felt like
I would be ostracized
because I wasn't
Black enough.
I never expected that Huey
would embrace
my mother in the way
that he did,
and embrace my brother,
who was White,
from my mother's first marriage,
and that I never expected
that I wasn't gonna have to
make some excuse for it
or apologize for it.
It was never a thing for him.
It was a thing for me.
That glimpse of love
and that acceptance that he had,
not just acceptance,
love for my mother,
was a new freedom for me.
And I think that was
one of the things
that really sparked this bond
between the two of us.
Oh, look he's really coming
He was so particular
about this.
It's really coming.
The previous idea was that
we would have
a pretty traditional base,
and that required jacket
and his shirt and his beret
and the whole thing.
To me, this rock is organic.
And to have him
coming out of it...
...I don't know that he
needs anything but him.
So will it be his--
It'll still be his bust?
It'll still be his bust,
but I...
I would like him to be naked.
What you in here doing
with my husband
is what I want to know.
We've be having this
You getting naked with my
Well, with your approval.
Just-just to here.
- That cut in of his chest.
- Mm-hmm.
And his shoulders.
Because then it's all Huey.
It's no accoutrements.
It's not his beret.
I mean, his beret people
know him by.
He was the walk
of the community.
Dana: And I think to add
anything to it
diminishes that concept.
It's like that time when
he got out of jail and...
- Exactly.
- ...stripped down.
That was the first time
you saw him, right?
That was
the first time I saw him.
Would you be comfortable
with that?
I think so.
I think so.
Okay. I'm definitely gonna
need some photographs.
Initially, sculpting him,
the first couple of weeks,
it was hard.
It was hard to get past
his physical beauty.
So I'd do my hair up
and, you know, put on a little
lip gloss and go in there.
I didn't get very far.
But now I see Huey.
So I took this down.
I had this, I think,
too built up.
To get that swag.
That kinda swag, yeah.
It's still a little...
not menacing,
but it's still intense
in that...
You know how people can
look you in the eye
and you know they're not
messing around,
but they got a little
smirk on their face,
like, "You're scaring me."
That's it.
How do you think this sculpture
will be received?
I think it'll be
so well received.
Black people love Huey.
He'll be at home.
He loved Oakland.
He loved being in the streets
with his people.
So let him go back
out on the street.
Hang out with his folks
and have those...
conversations that
he loved to have.
I think it'll finally give some
'Cause I never really
let him go.
So I'm hoping that it will
do that, you know?
Well, I hope so.
Yeah. I think it'll finally
give him a place,
and me a place,
to feel like...
"Okay. I got you.
I got you."
Right. Right.
Anytime you ride around
with the ashes of your husband
in the back of your car
for seven years,
you know something's off.
This piece is for Fredrika.
And I've not created a piece
for someone...
until now.'s been very moving.
He's for her.
And I want him to be there
so that she can go
and talk with him
and to see him and to see how
people connect with him.
And to know that he...
he has this resting place now.
He's, uh...
he's almost done.
99.9% of the way.
It looks really good.
He looks really good.
It's come a long way, huh?
It really has.
It has.
Oh, my God!
This isn't anything that...
one goes through
So it's hard to explain
how intimate
and intense the process is,
and how important it is to have
the right person do this.
I can't imagine having
done this with a man.
It's quite
a powerful experience
to put my hands on him,
because it really feels like
I'm putting my hands
on his corpse,
because it's cold.
That's why it's so hard
to do it. Yeah.
Because it's his image,
and then to put my hands on him
is--It's powerful.
But, you know,
when he's in bronze,
you'll put your hands on him
and he'll be warm.
- Oh, is that right?
- Oh, yeah.
The sun will warm him,
even on cold winter days.
Oh, nice!
So you won't have that
experience again.
They'll be talking about...
this lady's
always coming down here
in her nightgown.
This old...
down there with her hands
all on him at night.
My work that I do,
my art,
is my love letter
to Black people,
to Black culture,
to Black history.
I want people to see themselves
in my work.
I want them to see their
aunts and their uncles
and grandmothers
and grandfathers.
I create Black bodies
in bronze.
It's only recently that
that has become understood.
And now there's this movement
to bring those stories forward,
and I couldn't be more happy
and grateful...
so that children,
Black children,
can see our strength
and our beauty
and our hearts.
He looks so
There's been so much
about the Black Panther Party
that has been either omitted
from history or bastardized.
Children who've grown up
in this very city
where the Black Panther Party
was created
do not even know that
the Black Panther Party
even existed here.
One of the mottos
or the sayings is,
"Serve the people,
body and soul."
We want to preserve
this history
because it's the history
of love.
You're obviously in good
spirits, Huey. Why?
Because I have the people
behind me,
and the people are
my strength.
That's right!
Oakland, California!
Party on the streets!
Sing it!
Night has turned to day
Night has turned to day
Night has turned to day
Night has turned to day
It is my very proud honor
as the mayor
to declare today officially
Huey P. Newton Day
in the city of Oakland.
Night has turned to day
Night has turned to day
Night has turned to day
October 24th, a time for
celebration indeed.
Even in the rain today,
you bring me so much light.
You bring me
so much light.
You bring me so much
light today.
Happy to see ya
I'm happy to see ya
Happy to be out here
Fredrika, thank you
for your guidance,
your love,
your friendship,
and your strength.
- I love you.
- I love you.
Thank you!
Your legacy
Will never be forgot
Years ago,
Newton was asked
how he wanted people
to remember him.
Well, I would like to say, as a
person who was very loved.
Will never be forgot
You are all here today
to witness history.
Fredrika, I haven't seen you
this happy
since your wedding
reception to Huey.
The time has come for your work
now to be seen nationally.
The whole country needs to know
what happened here
in Oakland, California.
The wind, the rain.
I think it's the ancestors
coming today
to acknowledge and honor
the spirit
of Dr. Huey P. Newton
right here in Oakland.
I guess it's symbolic
the Panthers were born
in a storm,
and we continue in a storm.
But we operate
within that storm
because that's what
we have to do,
and we keep getting up.
You are the storm.
You are the storm.
This is a message, that we need
to be the storm...again.
We can't wait for the education
system in America
to tell our truth.
We have to tell
our own truth,
and that's what we're doing
here today,
standing in the rain
as the storm that we are.
The sculpture of Huey,
this is another step in the
direction of truth-telling,
and the truth we must tell
is the accurate history
of the Black Panther Party.
Their love,
their ardent commitment
to protecting and serving
their communities,
the survival program,
the coalitions.
It's long overdue,
and our foundation
along with so many others
who are here today
are committed to
the truth they told.
Will never be forgot