Come The Revolution... The Story of Michael X Intro and Panel Discussion

The Story of Michael X is the revelatory 1972 BBC exposé focusing on Michael X, a charismatic leader of black radicalism in the late 60s who, at the time, was one of the most famous black men in Britain. Michael consciously modelled himself on Malcolm X, renaming himself from Michael De Freitas and setting out to challenge what he thought were the hypocrises of white power and expose the inqualities its supremacy was built on.

His extraordinary but almost forgotten story has to be seen to be believed - a hustler from Trinidad who could pass for white, he conquered swinging London, cosying up to everyone from Muhammad Ali to Leonard Cohen, William Burroughs to John Lennon. He was a piratical, larger than life character who was the man of the moment for a while - before he fell victim to his own hype. He moved back to Trinidad, started a commune and dreamed of becoming President - that is, until two bodies were found on his land...

In this video, Ian Sargeant Arts Development Outreach Manager at The Drum in Birmingham, and member of the curatorial group Come The Revolution introduces The Story of Michael X film and gives his reasons for choosing to programme it. After the screening, Ian was joined by John L. Williams, author of Michael X: A Life in Black and White, and Arnie Hill, from London Black Revolutionaries, a self-determined urban, working class, and revolutionary organisation operating in the capital.

They discuss the film, Michael X's life, his impact on the UK's political and cultural scene, and explore the history and wider context of black radicalism from the 1960s to present day. Audience members ask questions and they discuss other films in the Come The Revolution season.

Related links:
Come The Revolution
London Black Revolutionaries

This strand is presented by Come The Revolution, a collective of curators, programmers and creatives from Bristol and Birmingham committed to exploring and challenging black life, experience and cultural expression through cinema. This is a BFI FAN Film Hub South West & West Midlands project with support from the National Lottery through the British Film Institute. Presented in partnership with Ujima Radio and Festival of Ideas. For more information visit

Posted on Sun 24 May 2015.