‘I Have All The Guns And All The Power’: The Only Female Black Panther Leader Heads To Hollywood

Written by Dana Sanchez

The memoir of Elaine Brown, the only woman to lead the Black Panther Party, will be adapted for film, Shadow and Act reported.

The rights to “A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story,” (Anchor, 1994) have been acquired by The Firm, a film and TV production and talent management company based in Santa Monica, California.

Brown was the chairwoman of the party from 1974 to 1977 while Black Panther Party founder Huey Newton was in exile in Cuba. He appointed Brown, and she is credited with expanding the party’s objectives to include things that were important to black women.

Women were not highly valued in the Black Panther Party when she took over, Brown said in the book:

“A woman in the Black Power movement was considered, at best, irrelevant. A woman asserting herself was a pariah. If a black woman assumed a role of leadership, she was said to be eroding black manhood, to be hindering the progress of the black race. She was an enemy of the black people…. I knew I had to muster something mighty to manage the Black Panther Party.”

Brown’s grew up in a poor Philadelphia neighborhood and attended a white school. She awoke to politics in adolescence, and became a foot soldier for the Panthers. Her relationship with Newton was tumultuous. He was her lover and her nemesis.

When Brown assumed leadership in August 1974 as the first and only female Black Panther leader, she said:

“I have all the guns and all the money. I can withstand challenge from without and from within.”

The Panthers had grown into a revolutionary national organization, targeted by the police and the FBI,facing violence within, and mobilizing black communities and white supporters across the country.

At age 74, Brown is still a community and political activist. She ran for president as a Green Party candidate in 2008.

Brown lives in Oakland, and will be an executive producer on the film.  The Firm is negotiating with writers to adapt her book for a script, Deadline reported. It will be produced by Robbie Brenner and The Firm’s Jeff Kwatinetz and Kevin McKeon.

Here are some comments by people who read the book upon which the movie will be based — and an inkling of what we can expect on the big screen:

Rosa: “I don’t know if Elaine’s version of the Black Panther Party is completely accurate, but I think the overall picture and general feeling is probably true. She paints an unflattering picture of the Panthers but she includes herself and shares a lot of her personal life, personal choices and flaws.”

Heavy Reader: Wow! This book is important! She tells of the misogyny of the male Panthers and how the women Panthers just wanted to be treated as equals. This book taught me a lot of things I didn’t know about the Black Panther Party … it’s an action/adventure novel …  I had to wonder how Elaine survived the turmoil happening all around her.”

Joe: “The panthers in Oakland used to discipline members with a lash. Elaine was whipped 20 times at one point for something she was set up for by a jealous man, Bobby Seale. How bout that for internalized oppression, and gender issues. How bout that?”

Teri: I’ve found that socially conscious African Americans in my generation hold our leaders in history on a pedestal. We hear people talk about the good old days with such nostalgia that we wish we were there ourselves. Sometimes we do talk as if we were there. In an effort to preserve our leaders’ reputations, we talk about them as if they don’t have flaws. To us, they are conservative, respectable, and unshakably united. Elaine Brown debunks these myths and brings those of us with a mental pedestal back to reality.

Kimberly: This is a book for one who wants a book written like your friend would talk to you about such important and personal matters as race in America, being a woman in America, trying to be yourself, and claiming space to be black.

Alex: Elaine Brown gives a fantastic perspective into the Black Panther Party … serves to explain a lot of what destroyed the Panthers even more effectively than COINTELPRO, namely misogyny and sexism. … The book is not an indictment of the Panthers by any means, it is actually quite inspiring and includes a lot of provocative Marxist theory and community-serving practice that reveal a genius that of course belies the mainstream media’s image of “thuggish” Panthers.

Ali: One of the best accounts of the Black Panther Party. Pay close attention to conversations, encounters and personal relations among folks she met in and around the party. The book reads like a biography but should be treated as a historical document. Brown’s style of writing and gender lense provide a narrative unlike other books on the BBP. This is a good stand-alone book. It’s even a greater book to be read alongside other books on the BPP for the sake of comparing perspectives on power, sex, violence in the party, gender, and personal commitments to the revolution.

 

 

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About Dana Sanchez
Dana Sanchez is the editor of Moguldom.com and AFKInsider.com. She has worked in digital and print news media as a business writer and news editor. She has a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. Prior to working in news, Dana worked in advertising.

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