Discussion Guide: 10 Days in Africa

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After watching 10 Days in Africa by Regi Allen on February 5, 2018 (8pm EST), as part of season 10 of AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, you may have a lot of questions and thoughts about the film’s key issues. Here is the background on the film and some discussion prompts for engaging audience members. For more prompts, historical context, and resources for those seeking additional information, you can download the complete guide to 10 Days in Africa here.

 

Background

Film Synopsis

10 Days in Africa (2002) was first broadcast as part of Afropop TV’s inaugural season. African-American filmmaker Regi Allen makes a sojourn to three West African countries to discover for himself the truth behind the myths that separate Black identity in Africa from Black identity in the Diaspora. With a critical lens often pointed at himself, Allen creates a compelling record of his journey that raises as many questions as it answers. With deep reflection disguised as a travel diary, and juxtaposing stereotypical media images with footage of the real thing, 10 Days In Africa is a loving tribute intended to heal many wounds while exposing the complex and challenging nature of Black identity.

Topics: African Americans, African roots, Black identity, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), culture, Ghana, heritage, legacy of slavery, media literacy, Senegal

The Filmmaker

Regi Allen is an award-winning editor, producer and media design artist, who is currently a senior editor at Discovery Communications and the founder and creative director of niceandcreative studios. He has edited and produced various works and specials for PBS, MTV, Discovery Channel, ABC, HBO, ID, SyFy, Showtime, TV Land, American Movie Classics (AMC) and Black Entertainment Television (BET). He received EMMY Awards for editing work on Sesame Street and while at ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings/The Century with Peter Jennings.

Allen’s prior works include a Planet Brooklyn (1996) video art series that won various film festival awards including The Community Choice Award for Best Experimental film from the National Black Programming Consortium. He also won Best Show Award from Washington D.C.’s Rosebud Foundation for his work on the video art-poetry documentary Voices Against Violence (1994). His collaboration on Sandy Wilson’s “So Many Things To Consider” and Jane Wagner’s “Girls Like Us”, were both selections of the Sundance Film Festival Short Film Series. In 1997, Regi was awarded a twelve-month appointment as a Research Fellow of the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University. There he developed a multi-media campaign for media literacy that examined the power of images and imagery in pop culture. While in Pittsburgh he also produced and exhibited various works at the Andy Warhol Museum.

 

Discussion Prompts

General

What was it like for you to watch this film?

Summarize the main message(s) of this film in a single sentence or tweet. How does your summary compare to what others in the room wrote?

What do you think accounts for the similarities or differences?

Describe a moment in the film that you found particularly moving. What was it about that scene that was especially compelling?

Was there anything in the film that “spoke truth” to you?

Was there anything that surprised you?

Discovering Self

Regi says he wants to go to Africa because “that’s where Black people come from.” Why do people think it is important to discover their roots?

Do you know where your people come from?

What difference does it make for you, either knowing or not knowing?

Often travel gives us as much insight into ourselves and as about the people and places we visit. What do you think Regi learned about himself?

Regi says, “It’s a funny feeling being between two places, these two continents, these two worlds.” Why do you suppose the default is to feel split, rather than to feel like one is multidimensional and has more capacity for understanding and expression that those who are grounded in a single place?

What did you learn from the film about Pan-Africanism and its role in the lives of Blacks in the Diaspora?

 

You can download the complete guide to 10 Days in Africa here to get more context for the film, prompts about forging connections, outcomes, pop culture, filmmaking choices, and more.