-Contributing Writer-

CHICAGO – A packed audience at Philadelphia’s International House was treated to a free screening of the recently released documentary “The Film Black Friday.” “Black Friday is a solution-based film that deals with how Blacks deal with money, and the importance of “Black folks leaving a financial legacy.” The film showing was followed by lively panel discussion and Q&A that included the writer and director of the film Rick Mathis, members of the cast, music legend Kenny Gamble and members of the Justice Or Else Coalition, Tahira A. X Austin and Eric Muhammad.

The film asked five questions: If you die would you leave bills or benefits? Did your parents talk to you about money (management) as a child? What was the impact of integration on the Black community? What is the current economic state of Blacks in America? How can Blacks on a large scale practice group economics and support Black-owned businesses?

The Film Black Friday cast member David Anderson, (left) and Kenny Gamble, (right). Photos: Jehron Muhammad

Not only does the film heighten economic awareness and financial responsibility, and financial literacy, it offers solutions on how to better manage the $1.2 trillion that leaves the Black community annually.

During a sit down with The Final Call, film director Mathis said he feels this documentary will motivate the community to deal more positively with its dollars.

“The awesome response that we’re getting with this film, I think means Black Friday is going to go down in history as one of our most profound documentaries of all times. I think it’s going to spark something in us that’s going to motivate us to change the way we spend money.”

Mr. Mathis said the purpose of the film is to offer practical solutions and to actually spark dialogue. He believes once the Black community achieves a level of financial literacy “we can start offering practical solutions.”

One practical solution is increasing support of Black businesses. “During the year 2016, through the use of social media, we want to document one million Black business transactions. This is a support Black business challenge. The way this will be done is each time you make a purchase at a Blackowned business, you take a photo, or short video of that business with your smart phone and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #Onemilliontransactions and #BlackFridayChallenge.”

Philadelphia march on Black Friday promotes economic withdrawal as part of strategic use of Black dollars.

In addition, Mr. Mathis said, challenge others to do the same and to rate the business you spend your money with.

Concerning the history of Black economic development, Mr. Mathis said, “In the film we talk about Black Wall Street, Rosewood and a lot of the other communities that flourished during the pre-integration period.”

“Many of these communities with their Black owned businesses were destroyed by race riots and by building interstates directly through Black owned districts, communities.”

Giving a shout out to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the director said he was in the audience when Min. Farrakhan spoke in Atlanta promoting the Justice Or Else! Gathering that marked the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March. He listened to what the Minister said concerning Dr. King and using Black spending power.

“I said, ‘wow, this is right in line with the film.’ In fact, before each showing of the film a portion of Dr. King’s speech discussing ‘redistributing the pain’ through economic withdrawal is played. So I tried to get an interview with him afterwards but for whatever reason it didn’t happen. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. We still projecting and still putting it out there that it will happen.”

As part of a day long Kwanzaa celebration, featuring Dr. Maulana Karenga, the Justice Or Else coalition! Will host a second screening of The Film Black Friday. The screening will occur Dec. 28 at the Audenried Universal Charter High School at 3301 Tasker St. in South Philadelphia.