Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Becoming Barack: Evolution of a Leader DVD



DVD Review by Kam Williams


Headline: DVD Revisits President Obama’s Formative Years as a Community Organizer


                There’s been an explosion of Barack Obama memorabilia onto the market since the presidential election, much of it garbage just trying to cash in on the hysteria. This includes DVDs, although the best of the bunch for my money is this bio-pic which focuses on Obama’s life from his days as a community organizer in Chicago right up to the present.

The film includes footage of a 1990 interview conducted after he had been elected editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review which offers a hint of his greatness to come. We also learn that the name Obama means “Blessed by God,” and that he had been heavily influenced by the writings of the late Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), a radical advocate for revolutionary change not by violence but by working within the system.

Apparently Barack was attracted to Alinsky’s progressive political philosophy because he was bothered by the inequalities he had observed in American society. And in news footage from 1993 we hear him state that he “wants to do something for blacks in the inner city,” adding that “change won’t come from the top. It’ll come from the grassroots.”

Pivotal to Obama’s agenda was “power” which Alinsky defined as “the ability to act in concert with others.” In fact, Barack used the phrase, “It’s a power thing,” as the slogan of one of his early campaigns in Illinois. And, according to this bio-pic, “the reason he ran for President of the United States is for more power.” His goal? “To create a community where every person has a decent shot at a decent life, and where people are lifted out of poverty and the middle class is expanded.”

A fitting tribute to the only President to dedicate his career to the poor and the disenfranchised.


Excellent (4 stars)


Running time: 55 minutes

Studio: Little Dizzy Home Video

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