As an actor and an African American, Kinyumba Mutakabbir says he felt obligated to create a film to extend the conversation of racial inequities and the injustice experienced in the Black community, particularly at the hands of law enforcement.
Mutakabbir, who has more than 30 television and film credits, has created a 10-minute short film documentary titled “Nguvu Kwa Watu” – or “Power to the People.”
But its release date, May 25, bears worldwide significance as the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd.
“Seeing and participating in many protests over the past year, my heart pours out to all those who have suffered under our nation’s seemingly timeless challenge: racial inequities,” Mutakabbir, who has starred alongside such A-list actors as Robert Downey Jr., Queen Latifah and Vivica A. Fox, said during a live interview on the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s morning breaking news program “Let It Be Known.”
“Nguvu Kwa Watu is Swahili. I chose that title for a reason,” noted Mutakabbir, a New York native who now lives in Baltimore.
“It means power to the people. I’m a huge fan of [activist] Bobby Seale and his book ‘Seize the Time: [The Story of Black of the Black Panty Party and Huey P. Newton],” Mutakabbir said. “[The book] stuck with me about how important it is to keep the power within those who are on the ground and those who are on the frontlines [of the movement].”
Mutakabbir, a Qigong master and CEO of Moments of Alignment who describes himself as an activist disguised as an actor, noted that the goal of his new documentary also includes encouraging people on their selection of the words they use.
“I wanted to create more of a conversation around what we are using as far as our words,” he said. “As an actor, it is very important to be cognizant of the words you are speaking. You have a script that you are given and you are asked to create emotions and feelings behind those words.
“We don’t always realize how much those words affect us on the other side,” he said. “When we were brought here [from Africa], we were robbed of many things, including our language. I think it is very important to have some sort of connectivity back to that [original] language, that dialect.
“It helps you in various ways. I wanted to challenge the status quo in Hollywood and offer a title that you don’t normally see. I’m excited,” he said.