For over twenty years Daryl Davis, a musician who’s played with the likes of Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, has been attempting to befriend white supremacists in order to help them realize the error of their ways. The effort hasn’t gone unnoticed and now Davis is the subject of a documentary that’s premiering at SXSW.
Davis’s journey began after a random meeting with a member of the KKK after a show and ever since then he’s been reaching out to klan members and hate groups to try to answer the question, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?” Davis has managed to persuade more than two dozen white supremacists to denounce their ideology and hand over their robes. All of this forms the story of Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America, a documentary directed by Matt Ornstein.
With everything that’s going on today the film is definitely timely. The director told MSNBC,
“I think that these are things that we definitely needed to be talking about before, and if this is what it takes, that’s sad, but I guess that’s ultimately a positive thing. In regards to the film itself, I feel like it makes it more timely, unfortunately.”
The film took two years to complete and quite a few moments will leave viewers uncomfortable and worried. Davis’s wife doesn’t appear in the film because of safety concerns and the director even revealed that there were many encounters that left him shaken. Davis and Ornstein both hope that the film will spark conversations about how to end racial prejudice.
For those of you going to SXSW, add this to your list.