The U.S. Embassy in Brazzaville partnered with the French Cultural Center in Congo to organize the second annual African-American Film Festival from February 19-22, attracting nearly 2,000 attendees. Movies were selected to promote democratic institutions, inclusion, and the support for civil society and personal triumph. These films included Lincoln, 42, Ali, Akeelah and the Bee, and The Butler. In addition to watching films each evening, the U.S. and French Embassies awarded certificates and books to 10 writing contest winners, who wrote about which African American most inspires them. Many submissions cited President Barack Obama, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks as role models.
During her remarks at the festival’s opening and closing ceremonies, Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan highlighted that “past and present aspirations of African Americans are common to all peoples and countries as we all long for equality, better and quality education, individual and collective freedoms,” and invited participants to learn lessons from the past through American history in order to better their future. Congolese artist Sheriff Bakala also performed an outdoor concert at the French Cultural Center on February 20 with songs inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous speeches.