Watch | 28. Apr 2021

Get Up, Stand Up - For Your Rights!

The lyrics of Bob Marley´s song might sound much more familar to you than "Small Axe", based on a popular proverb in Jamaica: If you are the big tree - We are the small axe"; Marley was referring to the big recording companies at that time, and protest movements all over the world took over that saying - and that song - for their causes.

Steve McQueen´s BBC mini series "Small Axe" (now also streaming on Amazon prime) just won several BAFTA nominations - and very well deserved, indeed: Based on true stories and dealing with the history of black immgrants from the Caribean in Sixties London is worth being noticed; and that is what awards are made for, isn´t it?

Because like so many other truely fascinating TV series "Small Axe" was kind of overlooked by a wider audience - and might now reach younger people around the globe who simply go for anything from this director; since Steve McQueen recieved his Oscar for "Twelve Years A Slave" only elderly people still confuse him with namesake American actor Steve McQueen.

"Small Axe" is a collection of five films inspired by real-life events about ordinary people showing courage, belief, and resilience to overcome injustice and achieve something transformative in their West Indian community.

You might not watch every episode and you might also notice the resemblance with the highly acclaimed movie "Chicago Seven" - but for me it is the first real show dealing with modern British history concerning the coloured community.

Check out the interview with Steve McQueen about his first TV engagement and maybe listen once more to Bob Marley: "So if your are the big tree, we are the small axe ready to cut you down (well sharp), to cut you down."