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Owen Alik Shahadah

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Behind | Owen 'Alik Shahadah

Owen Alik Shahadah

Owen 'Alik Shahadah is a master of the Documentary format. A new generation of progressive Pan-African Scholars with a distinctive aesthetic. Alik Shahadah is a multi-award winning recipient including the rare UNESCO award for film.

He defines his mission as "demolishing the race-based privileges, which are byproducts of mental and physical slavery." He is focused on economic empowerment and sees cultural ownership and agency as central to the mission of his generation. His business approach is rooted in efficiency and resource management; "in defining success, we must define failure. In defining a destination means defining a route, in defining a product means defining a process." He is best known for authoring works, which deal with African history, social justice, economic issues, education and world peace.

He produces work that articulates a multidimensional African world perspective. Testimony to this is 500 Years Later and his new production Motherland. As a scholar and writer, he is one of the founders of the African Holocaust Society. He says that progressive African history maintains African people as agents of their history and the dominant voice in African history. However, this history must conform to the African cultural paradigm while at the same time meeting the highest threshold of good scholarship. He is author of, a leading website on the Arab slave trade in Africa. He advocates the commuting of linguistic terms such as "Black people", "Black African", "Sub-Saharan Africa" due to their nature of creating a disservice and detracting African people from their historical value and geo-political reality.

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Owen 'Alik Shahadah | Inside

Born in Germany, Shahadah has lived in the USA, UK, Caribbean and Africa, he claims this gave him a unique cultural outlook of the global African condition. Shahadah is of a new generation of African Diaspora filmmakers inspired by the likes of Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Franz Fanon, W.E. Dubois, Marcus Garvey and Kwame Nkrumah. Shahadah studied Aeronautical Engineering (BEng) in London . He spent his teenage years growing up in Brooklyn New York. His former father-in-law was socialist St Lucian politician George Odlum.

Politically Shahadah adheres to a meritocracy egalitarian philosophy of harmonious co-existence through intellectual debate. He believes humanity is best served by respecting cultural diversity and opposes imperialism and neo-liberal globalisation, which seeks to reduce a multi-cultural world to a Western oriented monoculture. He describes his value systems as traditional human based upon the laws seen in most religions globally: Family, Morality, Truth, and Justice (Maat). While being a strong advocate for women’s rights he opposes feminism on the bases that it is a destructive ideology against family, loaded with liberal Eurocentric values.

Shahadah believes that Africans must develop an authentic African aesthetic and bring this into film culture. He also stresses that all art in the traditional African senses is socially functional. As a filmmaker he is noted for emphasizing music to film synchronization.

He stresses that African film, like African music (both of the continent and the Diaspora), has a rhythm which is the fundamental inner harmony that sets up a unique African sensibility. His documentaries never use narration and are driven my music, strong flashing images set to music and spoken word and rich color. Unique in documentary Shahadah uses heavy dramatic film scores, typical of epic movies. He says his films are a four part harmony of information produced by images, music, text and dialog. For the Motherland (film) Sona Jobarteh and Alik Shahadah claims he created a new way of mixing music in Dolby 5.1 called split positioning.

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Under This Sun | A Collection of Photographs from Alik Shahadah



The dove of peace cannot fly down the barrel of a gun






How can the views of the oppressed be expressed at the convenience of the rich?





Ugly is when ignorance is worn with pride






You cannot measure an African success with a European measuring stick





If we do not stop oppression when it is a seed, it will be very hard to stop when it is a tree







A broad base ethos which governs active African organizations; united through diversity, pooling resources and globally working towards --Self-Determination.

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