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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

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“It’s very important that we understand where we are and how we got here,” the director Steve McQueen told The Observer in November. He was discussing his latest project, an anthology-cum-miniseries about West Indians in London during the 1960s and 70s. Concluding this weekend, the stunning quintet of films centers on the decades and locale of McQueen’s boyhood. The first episode, Mangrove, portrays the true story of nine West Indians who were arrested for rioting during a peaceful protest. Other episodes highlight McQueen’s overlooked culture. Lovers Rock, the only feature that is not founded on real events, shows a West London house party, where dancers laugh and fall in love—it celebrates the soundtrack of McQueen’s boyhood. The series, however, is not only meant as a reminder of what once was and may now be forgotten or erased. In the community’s resistance, values, and style, McQueen detects a model for moving forward. As he put it, “The past is the present and the present is the future.” —C.J.F.

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