I saw this film when I first came to the UK, nearly 30 years ago.
I saw it again recently, with a Q & A with the director, Menelik Shabazz, when it was screened at the BFI as part of the African Odysseys programme.
Blood Ah Go Run (Blood Will Flow/Be Shed) documents events that took place in London in 1981 including the New Cross fire, the subsequent Black People’s Day of Action, and the Brixton riot.
The film records how the Metropolitan Police attacked and attempted to subvert the peaceful march on the Black People’s Day of Action, the first time Black people in the UK had demonstrated publicly in such numbers.
White British people and institutions must have been shocked when they realised the potential power of Black people in this country.
The Brixton riot followed two months later, sparked by the “Sus” laws and the police’s “Operation Swamp” in Brixton. To read more about this, click here for my blog about Mavis Best. See also my interview with Alex Wheatle.
In retrospect, I wonder what the authorities expected to happen – the actions of the police seemed calculated to provoke riot and unrest.
In the Q & A, Shabazz described what he called “guerilla filmmaking”. Film stock was expensive, so he had to beg and borrow partial reels of film on which to record this film. The footage of the riot was taken directly from TV coverage.
Shabazz also described how he went into the BBC studios after hours so that a colleague could edit the film.
Blood Ah Go Run documents a crucial point in British history and, as such, should be shown in every school.
See also: Next Black History Events.
Africa and Africans on Film.