A documentary directed by Regent’s lecturer will feature on Channel 4 to mark Black History Month

Justice for Joy, a film directed by directing lecturer Dr Ken Fero, will be included in a season of seminal films from the Channel 4 archives, created by the collective gal-dem.

gal-dem, the online platform committed to telling the stories of women and non-binary people of colour, are reaching into the Channel 4 archives to curate a Black British History collection. To accompany each selection, individuals from the gal-dem community will also author six new short films, in conversation with someone related to the original programme.

gal-dem said: ‘This is an unfiltered celebration of Black British History. By bringing the archive titles into the present tense, we aim to raise important questions about how far we've come in 2019. These questions include, but are not limited to: Who has the Windrush scandal ignored? Who owns queer? Would the black British experience be any different without church? Does British TV really represent black people? Why are white people so committed to the idea of white superiority? Can on-screen stereotypes ever be a force for good?’

Myrna Simpson
Joy Gardner's mother Myrna Simpson

Justice for Joy follows the campaign for truth by the family of Joy Gardner, who died during a deportation raid in her home in Hornsey, north London, in July 1993.

Ken Fero said: ‘The public outcry across the country following the horrific death of Joy Gardner was met by vilification in the mainstream press. She was blamed for her own demise by being an “illegal immigrant”. The last outcry following the death of a Black mother at the hands of the police had taken place a decade earlier in the case of Cynthia Jarrett, which led to the Broadwater Farm uprising. The establishment wanted to avoid that at all costs and so the manslaughter trial of the police officers that had restrained and killed Joy went ahead.

‘In this context, Channel 4 needs to be commended for commissioning us to make Justice for Joy, and for screening it in a prime-time slot a few days after the trial of the officers, which ended with a not guilty verdict. The public reaction to the film was, in the most part, violent and extreme. The Channel 4 Duty Log recorded callers claiming the film was “outrageous”, “disgusting”, “biased” and threatening to “rape” us.

‘Unfortunately, Channel 4 caved in to this pressure. They did not appear with us on Right to Reply – their audience response programme at the time – distancing themselves from Justice for Joy in several ways. It is right that the channel has now agreed to make this film available as a point of reflection and we welcome that. Channel 4’s remit has always been to reflect society, ours is to change it.’

Justice for Joy will be on Channel4.com/my4 from 1 October 2019.