Black History Month: Babymother (UK 1998)

Anita, the main character proudly holds her children
Anita, the main character proudly holds her children

Babymother is one of the few Black British films to receive a UK release of any kind since the 1980s, but even so, it is likely to be better known abroad where it was shown in festivals. In the UK it received only a very limited distribution and has been seen mainly on Channel 4 television.

The first TV airings showed cropped images from what is a widescreen (CinemaScope) film musical (which bizarrely links it to the early Cliff Richard Scope musicals such as The Young Ones (1961). The film represents a conscious attempt to avoid the typical burden of representation that sits heavily on Black British films? it isn’t concerned with the problems of life in the inner city associated with racism and deprivation. Instead it celebrates one aspect of Jamaican life in London dancehall, with its distinctive musical style and dramatic costumes.

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