‘The Sun Rises In The East’ Documentary Tells The Story Of A Forgotten Black Brooklyn Community
The Sun Rises In The East, a 2022 documentary, traces the roots of a Black community based in Brooklyn, New York, called The East. The community was born out of an experiment when Black folks in Brooklyn took control of public schools in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community, according to CityLab. This experiment eventually led to food co-ops, schools, jazz lounges, and art centers. This burgeoning movement came to be known as The East. A counter to Western ideals and values, The East centered around Pan-African views and culture, fostering a collaborative approach as opposed to the more individualistic ideas of the West.
The Sun Rises In The East is now streaming on Amazon Video, and it has been making the rounds at various festivals.
Even though the community had a sprawling presence, evidenced by the group’s occupation of a 232,000-square-foot facility, little has been recorded about The East’s existence.
CityLab talked to the documentary’s directors, Tayo Giwa and Cynthia Gordy Giwa, about the significance of sharing the forgotten story of The East. The doc unveils the story of an organization whose spirit has outlived its time. CityLab describes The East as a potential progenitor to the Black Lives Matter movement, critical race theory, and Afro-futurism.
“The East has such a sprawling history that we wanted to make it accessible to the masses. And sometimes you lose some of that when you get into every detail of the history,” said Tayo. “Also, we didn’t want it to sound like The East ended because that wasn’t the story we were telling. It was really about how this thing happened, and it’s still having an impact today.”