Editors Note: Cappuccino Soul published this article initially on February 14, 2007. I'm still waiting to hear when this film, about one of Haiti's finest sons, will be released.
Danny Glover makes his directorial debut with Toussaint, a film about the life of Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint L’ouverture. Filming for the epic story is scheduled to start in late April or early May with a sizzling cast including Don Cheadle as Toussaint, Mos Def, Angela Bassett, Chiwetel Ejiofor and others. This film is scheduled to be released sometime in 2009.
Written by Vijay Balakrishnan and Glover’s producing partner, Joslyn Barnes, Toussaint will be shot in Mozambique and South Africa. The movie tells the story of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) and the life of L’ouverture, who established Haiti as the first independent black Republic by leading a successful slave uprising against the French, Spanish and British imperial armies. Although L’ouverture was eventually captured and imprisoned by the French, his name is still uttered with pride by many Haitians and other Africans in the diaspora.
In her play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, Ntozake Shange puts these words in the mouth of Lady in Brown, a young girl who raves about her newfound hero, Toussaint L’ouverture.
(excerpt from For Colored Girls…)
Lady in Brown
i knew I wasn’t sposedta
but I ran inta the ADULT READING ROOM
& came across
TOUSSAINT waz a blk man a Negro like mama say
who refused to be a slave
& he spoke French
& didn’t low no white man to tell him nothing
waz the beginning uv reality for me
in the summer contest for
who colored child can read
15 books in three weeks
i won & raved abt TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE
at the afternoon ceremony
belonged in the ADULT READING ROOM
& I cried
& carried dead Toussaint home in the book
he was dead & livin to me
cuz TOUSSAINT & them
they held the citadel gainst the French
wid the spirits of ol dead Africans from outta the ground