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Menelik Shabazz

British film director

Menelik Shabazz is ...


Born 30 May 1954 in Saint John
Died 28 June 2021 in Zimbabwe
Age 67 years, 1 months
Cause diabetes

Sex or gender male
Occupation documentary filmmaker, film producer and film director
Educated at London Film School

About Menelik Shabazz

Menelik Shabazz is a British film director, writer, and producer who has made a significant impact on the world of cinema. Born on May 30, 1954, in St. John's, Antigua, Shabazz moved to London with his family at the age of five. He studied at the London International Film School and began his career as a filmmaker in the late 1970s.

Shabazz is best known for his groundbreaking films that explore the experiences of Black people in Britain. His first feature film, "Burning an Illusion" (1981), was a powerful portrayal of a young Black woman's struggle for identity and self-determination in a society that was hostile to her. The film won the Grand Prix at the Amiens Film Festival and was a critical and commercial success.

Shabazz continued to make films that challenged stereotypes and gave voice to marginalized communities. His documentary "The Story of Lover's Rock" (2011) explored the history of the Lover's Rock music genre, which emerged in the 1970s as a response to racism and social exclusion. The film was a hit with audiences and critics alike and won the Best Documentary award at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival.

In addition to his work as a filmmaker, Shabazz is also a respected educator and mentor. He has taught at several universities and film schools, including the University of Westminster and the London Film School. He has also served as a mentor to young filmmakers through organizations such as the BFI's Talent Network and the Black Filmmaker Foundation.

Shabazz's contributions to British cinema have been recognized with numerous awards and honors. In 2018, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Screen Nation Awards, which celebrate the achievements of Black British talent in film and television.

Menelik Shabazz's films have had a profound impact on British cinema and on the representation of Black people in film. His work continues to inspire and challenge audiences, and his legacy as a filmmaker and educator is secure.


- "Menelik Shabazz: The Storyteller," The Voice, August 2, 2018.

- "Menelik Shabazz: The Filmmaker Who Pioneered Black British Cinema," The Guardian, August 3, 2018.

- "Menelik Shabazz: The Story of Lover's Rock," Sight & Sound, November 2011.

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