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Steve McQueen: 'Slavery should be remembered like Holocaust'

DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen (PA)

BRITISH FILMMAKER Steve McQueen says the black community must remember slavery in the same way the Jewish community remembers the Holocaust.

The 12 Years A Slave director believes the only way black people can overcome the repercussions of slavery is to fully understand the shameful chapter of history, which lasted over 400 years.

“We [black people] have to recognise our past in the same way that other ethnics group like the Jewish community has,” McQueen told The Voice.

“They believe in the saying ‘never forget’ when it comes to the Holocaust and I think we should be the same when it comes to slavery. It’s important.”

Speaking ahead of the release of his hugely anticipated film 12 Years A Slave, which charts the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841, McQueen feels that the debate his movie has sparked is a great thing.

“The fact that people are talking about 12 Years A Slave, not just the film but in the context of everyday life is a positive thing,” the 44-year-old said.

“The repercussions of slavery are still seen today.

“The high numbers of black people in prison, mental health issues within our community, drug abuse, single parent families – these are the repercussions of slavery and we have to acknowledge that.”

Read the full exclusive interview with Steve McQueen in next week’s issue of The Voice, out on January 9. 12 Years A Slave is in cinemas from January 10.

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