Kaepernick & America Movie Review (2022)

“Kaepernick & America” ​​explores the duality of colorism and the limitations of respectability politics; it also chronicles Kaepernick’s early fall from grace in the eyes of conservative fans as he faced criticism for his appearance. Code language used by anchors and other spokespersons to describe Kaepernick’s appearance felt like an attack on his blackness. We see the fall from grace steadily approaching as Kaepernick further identified with his African-American heritage from his pro-Black Instagram posts to his hair style. Kaepernick is yet another example of public castration of politically conscious black celebrities.

Although the Doctor approaches this subject well, it fails to stick the landing. Kaepernick is no longer involved in the conversation he started, and this documentary is an example of why. He did not feel like a character, but an ideal. Like many documentaries, the interviews begin to become an interruption of Kaepernick’s actions instead of providing insight into them. This outsider interview format is beneficial in the beginning as the audience is re-introduced to Kaepernick and as they revisit the events of the protest, but detracts when trying to explain the legacy of Kaepernick’s actions, a history that is still being written.

The ending of the film is like a last minute desperate attempt to appease a white audience. It’s as if the documentary wasn’t allowed to be released unless the cultural impact of racism was tied up neatly with a bow. Kaepernick’s protest wasn’t a warning of what was to come so much as a statement about what was already happening. It was an expression of frustration over the livable killings of black people by the police, a problem that has plagued African-American communities for generations. But even if it’s all a bit too tidy, this documentary about Kaepernick is valuable in reminding viewers how far we still have to go.

On Demand today.

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