Director Justin Malone is following up his 2020 surprise hit documentary Uncle Tom, which billed itself as an “oral history of the American black conservative,” with a sequel later this month.
The original 2020 documentary featured interviews with prominent black conservatives such as author and former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, former congressman and Texas gubernatorial candidate Allen West, and Texas-based pastor and anti-abortion activist Stephen Broden, among others.
The term “Uncle Tom” comes from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Even though Uncle Tom is depicted as a hero in the novel, fiercely loyal to his fellow slaves, the term has become a pejorative used against African Americans today, particularly black conservatives.
Elder claimed in the documentary that an “Uncle Tom is someone who sold out and embraced the white man by rejecting the idea that [they are] a victim.”
Malone’s path to making the first Uncle Tom documentary began much earlier in 2011 when he happened to catch Lawrence O’Donnell’s interview of Herman Cain, a black conservative running for president.
In the MSNBC interview, O’Donnell pulled highlights from Cain’s books to accuse him of “sitting on the sidelines” of the civil rights movement.
“I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Malone told The Washington Times in an interview. “I was sort of undergoing my own political transformation at the time, and the seed was planted right there.”
Many political and cultural observers lambasted O’Donnell’s harsh treatment of Cain at the time.
For example, CNN’s John King chided O’Donnell over the incident, claiming, “Perhaps the most detestable media character assassination I have seen in a very long time happened on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell attacking Herman Cain. What an outrage.”
O’Donnell accused Cain’s father of “some sort of racial cowardice for advising his son how to avoid being attacked during those heated days,” according to King’s assessment of the interview.
Malone said he “remains astonished that an accomplished Black professional could be treated with such boldfaced contempt on a television news program. The notion that conservative thinking could be perceived as hostile or alien to the Black experience captivated him,” according to The Washington Times.
Carroll Robinson, former Houston city councilman and current chair of the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats, responded to questions from The Dallas Express about the Uncle Tom documentary and the current cultural landscape surrounding black conservatives.
“Black Americans are entitled to do what white America has historically done, participate in both party (sic) and succeed on both sides of the political aisle,” commented Robinson.
Robinson stated, “It’s about time the term ‘Uncle Tom’ be defanged as a derogatory insult used to disparage Black people … I salute and celebrate Black achievement, whether Democratic or Republican,” concluded Robinson.
Malone and executive producer Larry Elder described Uncle Tom II as an “odyssey depicting the gradual demoralization of America through Marxist infiltration of its institutions.”
The film “will take the audience deeper into black America’s often eradicated history of honorable men, entrepreneurship, prosperity, faith, and patriotism, to its current perceived state of anger, discontent, and victimhood.”
Uncle Tom II is set for release on August 26. Audiences can view the first installment for free on the documentary’s website for a limited time.