Ian Inaba's American Blackout is a stylish, intelligent, and provocative documentary that looks at the historic and systematic disenfranchisement of the black vote through the lens of the political career of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia).
George W. Bush's narrow victory in 2000 launched an historic investigation into Florida's election process. Public focus was on dysfunctional ballots and the Supreme Court litigation, but Inaba's inquiry leads him to Congresswoman McKinney, who investigated the private company hired by the state of Florida to generate voter lists, which effectively shut out the black vote and handed Bush an unlikely victory. While tracking McKinney's career, Inaba reveals a host of ways in which black political power is systematically squelched, ranging from the slander that assailed McKinney when she stood up to the Bush administration on 9/11 and Iraq, to the political machinations that disempowered the black vote in the Georgia Democratic primaries and the Ohio presidential election in 2004.
Inaba reminds us that African Americans have long fought a war inside our country for their right to vote, and unfortunately that war rages on today. American Blackout emotionally revitalizes the core of our power as American citizens—the right to vote—and effectively reveals that the fate of black voters is inextricably tied to the fate of all Americans.