500 Years Later

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500 Years Later
Directed by Owen 'Alik Shahadah
Produced by Owen 'Alik Shahadah
Ako Oseyaba Mitchell
M. K. Asante, Jr.
Written by M. K. Asante, Jr.
Starring Kimani Nehusi
Molefi Kete Asante
Maulana Karenga
Muhammad Shareef
Paul Robeson, Jr.
Francis Cress Welsing
Amiri Baraka
Bill Cosby
Hakim Adi
Khaleel Muhammad
Mighty Gabby
M. K. Asante, Jr.
Music by Tunde Jegede
Studio Halaqah Media Films
Asante Filmworx
Distributed by Codeblack Entertainment
Release dates October 11, 2005
Running time 108 min.
Language English
Budget $1 million

500 Years Later (፭፻ ዓመታት በኋላ 500 ʿamätatə bägwala) is the title of an independent documentary film directed by Owen 'Alik Shahadah, written by M. K. Asante, Jr. released in 2005. It won five international film festival awards (including UNESCO 'Breaking the Chains Award'[1]) in the category of Best Documentary. 500 Years Later has received praise as well as controversy, both for the genre of the film (creative documentary), and the social-political impact of the film as it relates to race study. The film opened on February 28, 2005, at the Pan-African Awards (PAFF) and won Best Documentary at its premiere. The film made its American television premiere on August 23, 2008 on TV One (Radio One), and Ethiopian Television premiere on October 27, 2007, and Bounce TV February 8, 2012.[2][3] In 2010, the sequel Motherland was released.


Crime, drugs, HIV/AIDS, poor education, inferiority complex, low expectations, poverty, corruption, poor health, and underdevelopment plagues people of African descent globally. 500 years later from the onset of slavery and subsequent colonialism, Africans are still struggling for basic freedom. Filmed in five continents, and over twenty countries, 500 Years Later engages the retrospective voice, told from the African vantage-point.


The cast features key figures from the African American academic world.

Awards and nominations[edit]

UNESCO Award and reception[edit]

500 Years Later was the first film to win a UNESCO award for documenting slavery. UNESCO subsequently funded a series of documentaries which would document slavery. When 500 Years Later was first sent to Channel 4 the commissioning editor of documentaries, Danny Cohen said "It's an interesting idea but I'm afraid, with limited slots available, it's not one I feel strongly enough about to take forward."[4] The producers complained about the racism involved in screening African-centred content and many in the African-British community saw this as part of the racism in the United Kingdom.[5] Even California Newsreel who applauded the approach said "While we applaud your effort to present African and African American history in a new and more favorable light, we think that your innovative techniques and broad scope are too radical for our largely academic market." Despite this, the film has been internationally recognized as the hallmark film on the legacy of slavery and used in universities and academic boards (e.g., Toronto school district) in the USA, UK, Caribbean and Canada.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.ziff.or.tz/details/winners.htm
  2. ^ Bounce TV Celebrates Black History Month with "Our History" Campaign, PRNewswire, ATLANTA, January 20, 2012
  3. ^ Schedule, Bounce TV.com. (Select 02-08-2012 10:30)
  4. ^ "500 Years Later experience". African Holocaust Society. Archived from the original on 5 December 2004. Retrieved 2005-01-04. 
  5. ^ "Film review 500". Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  6. ^ "NY Times 500". The New York Times. Retrieved 2005-01-04. 

External links[edit]