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Fire in Babylon

FIRE IN BABYLON is the breathtaking story of how the West Indies triumphed over its colonial masters through the achievements of one of the most gifted teams in sporting history – the West Indian cricketers, led by the enigmatic Viv Richards.

Director: Stevan Riley
Year: 2010
Time: 87 min
Club Member Rating:
 Fire in Babylon
(2010) on IMDb

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Ways to Influence

Share this film. Give others the chance to be inspired by its story. 

Learn more about Peace Jam, which educates youth on how to end injustices across the globe.

Read A History of West Indies Cricket by Michael Manley for an in-depth look at the sport in this region.

Stop racism in its tracks. Race is not a chosen trait and is not a valid reason for bias of any kind. Educate yourself on the roots of racism, and prohibit racial slurs from being used, however mild they may seem.

Be encouraged by ideals, not dollar signs. Cricketers and other athletes played a big role in ending apartheid by refusing to play in South Africa, regardless of the large sums of money offered.

Related Articles and Resources

When Cricket Was a Symbol, Not Just a Sport

“’It was very important to recognize that this story went beyond cricket,’…’Cricket is a vehicle for telling a much deeper tale about realization of identity and freedom, and black pride and struggle.’… ‘when you’ve got a deeper purpose, as the West Indies team embodied, sport can become symbolic of something much more profound.’”

Read the full review from the New York Times here.

SPOTIFY

Listen to our playlist with music from the film on Spotify.

Interview with Director Steven Riley

“At the time you’ve got Rastafarians hanging out with the captain of the West Indies team…which is quite a radical thought when you think of cricket as being the game of the conservative establishment. So Babylon, in Rastafarian speak, refers to systems of oppression or prejudice, wherever it resides. And the fire is the West Indies team, their style of play — it was a righteous fire that was going to stamp out prejudice by example.”

Read the full interview here.

A Slightly Different Take

One reviewer addresses the history surrounding the film and provides an alternative perspective cricket’s relationship with calypso music.

“The best documentaries break out of the boundaries of their subject matter to paint a picture that is altogether larger and more complex.”

ESPN

INFLUENCE FILM CLUB PLAYLIST

I CAN’T BREATHE
A set of films that shine a light on racial injustice and those who stand against it.

Has the whole idea of sportspeople standing for something greater gone?

“Sport is an amazing thing in itself and we should always fight to make it say something about the best part of us… What amazes me is that we can get so excited about something like Luis Suarez gnawing at a fella’s shoulder but not really give a damn about the slums and favelas just beyond the stage where the World Cup was being held.”

Read this thoughtful reflection on the intersection between sports and politics.

A Forgotten Story

The Guardian provides an interesting history of white players in the West Indies, particularly those who fought alongside their teammates to tear down the walls of racial inequality.

10 Places Where Racism is Still a Major Issue in Sports

Just because Donald Sterling may be getting kicked out of the NBA doesn’t mean that racism has suddenly disappeared from the sporting landscape.

Here are 10 of the most egregious examples still plaguing the athletic fields and boardrooms.

Sports Media is Still Racist

“So what’s the big deal, you might ask. If all this talk is stealthy and unintentional we can resist the message, right? Not exactly.”

Read the article on Vice.

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