Finally, it seems we're edging closer towards the release of Steve McQueen's much anticipated anthology series Small Axe. The BAFTA-winning filmmaker has directed five new films exploring the Black experience in Britain, which will be released on BBC One this November. And, by the looks of the second Small Axe trailer, they're going to be thrilling to watch.
The second trailer dropped over the weekend (Sept. 20) following exclusive showings at the New York Film Festival this week. Mangrove, Lovers Rock, Education, Alex Wheatle, and Red, White and Blue will explore racial injustice faced by London's West Indian community during the 1960s to the 1980s.
The short clip offers up quick-fire glimpses of the five anticipated films, from joyous street parties to clashes with police and protests. "These are new types of human beings. They are not demoralised or defeated persons they are leaders but are rooted deep among those they lead," commands a voice in the powerful clip. “We mustn’t be victims but protagonists of our story.”
All of the films will showcase those "whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will" despite rampant racism and discrimination.
The footage also sees snippets from actors Letitia Wright and John Boyega's starring roles in the series.
Star Wars actor Boyega is transformed into real-life Metropolitan Police officer Leroy Logan, Red, White and Blue. Logan decided to join the Met after witnessing his father being assaulted by two policemen and later developed crucial anti-racist policies that were adopted by the UK's police force.
Meanwhile Black Panther's Letitia Wright stars in Mangrove, which tells the true story of the 1970s Mangrove protests, when Black people demonstrated against police harassment in West London. The BBC dropped the Mangrove trailer in August and it shows Wright leading protesters chanting "enough is enough" before they're arrested in dramatic scenes. These real-life pivotal protests led to the arrests of nine innocent men and women charged with incitement to riot. They later became known as the 'Mangrove Nine.' The landmark case helped to expose racism within the Metropolitan Police. As the BBC writes, they changed British history "by taking a stand against racial discrimination."
The Small Axe anthology series details both fictional and fact-based stories. Speaking to the BBC, McQueen explained his thinking behind the new films: "I felt these stories needed to be shared. I wanted to re-live, re-evaluate and investigate the journeys that my parents and the first generation of West Indians went on to deliver me here today calling myself a Black British person.
“What’s important about our stories is that they are local but at the same time global. I think audiences will identify with the trials, tribulations and joy of our characters as well as reflecting on the present environment in which we find ourselves."
Small Axe will premiere on BBC One and iPlayer this Autumn. The series will be streamed on Amazon Prime in the U.S.