- Posted July 13, 2014 by
Queens, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
iReport at the movies
- Documentary takes NBC Universal executive from Harlem to China in Search of Her Roots - Gallery 2 of 3
- Documentary takes NBC Universal executive from Harlem to China in Search of Her Roots - Gallery 1 of 3
- Punches, Kicks, Blood, Sweat and Tears for a Good Cause - Gallery 7 of 7
- Punches, Kicks, Blood, Sweat and Tears for a Good Cause - Gallery 6 of 7
- Punches, Kicks, Blood, Sweat and Tears for a Good Cause - Gallery 5 of 7
Documentary takes NBC Universal executive from Harlem to China in Search of Her Roots - Gallery 3 of 3
These 3 photo galleries are part of a shoot I worked on during a screening of the documentary Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China, that took place at The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York. The moving film chronicles retired NBC Universal executive Paula Williams Madison, as she and her brothers Elrick & Howard Williams - all raised in Harlem by their Chinese Jamaican mother Nell - discover their heritage by searching for clues about their long-lost Chinese grandfather, Samuel Lowe. It’s a journey that takes them from Toronto to Jamaica, all the way to the Chinese cities of Shen Zhen and Guang Zhou.
Together the siblings visit their family's ancestral village, finding a documented lineage dating back 3,000 years to 1006 BC. The trip culminates in an emotional family reunion with 300 of their grandfather's Chinese descendants.
There were many guests, supporters and friends in attendance, including the film’s director Jeanette Kong, cinematographer Martin Proctor, a number of Caribbean ambassadors, descendants of the Lowe family, filmmaker Warrington Hudlin, who interviewed Ms. Madison after the screening, journalists such as Fox News anchor Arthel Neville, and many others. After the screening, audience members relayed their own stories of culture, identity search and acceptance, some being moved to tears as they relayed tales of the fear of telling people of their true backgrounds, out of fear they could be ostracized.
This story of familial love and devotion shines a light on a little-known aspect of Caribbean history, one that involved Chinese immigrants flocking to The Islands for work and in some cases finding much more, leading to a fusion of cultures. Finding Samuel Lowe also reminds us that, as difficult as the relationship between races can be in America at times, how one’s life can be transformed once they realize how connected people actually are.