“Black Beach/White Beach” Brings to the Big Screen the Gullah/Geechee Nation’s “Black Pearl”
Filmmaker Ricky Kelly has put together an outstanding new documentary, “Black Beach/White Beach.” “Black Beach/White Beach” tells the historical journey of the formation of the “Black Pearl” of the Gullah/Geechee Nation during segregation and leads you up to the on-going battle to rebuild the town and its reputation.
The “Black Pearl” is the historic Atlantic Beach Township which is north of Myrtle Beach. Although Atlantic Beach did not receive incorporation from the state of South Carolina until 1966, Gullah/Geechees owned the land on the Atlantic Ocean prior to that and started to use it as a gathering place in 1934. They opened motels, restaurants, and night clubs and by 1936 pleasure boats were anchoring at the township where Black folks could come and enjoy themselves.
Just as with many other historic Gullah/Geechee beach areas such as Seabreeze, NC and Remley’s Point & Mosquito Beach in SC and American Beach, FL, integregation caused Atlantic Beach to suffer economically. The Atlantic Beach Bike Fest which is now called the “Black Pearl Cultural Heritage and Bike Festival” is part of what is known as “Black Bike Week” to most. This celebration is the main economic driver for the entire town. The celebration which grew from 3 men coming together to form a motorcycle club and then encouraging others to come and celebrate with them on the coast has gone from a mere 250 people to 25,000 people that come to the Black Pearl to enjoy the waters and entertainment. However, Myrtle Beach and even the governor and others across the state of South Carolina have done a great deal to impede and to attempt to end this annual all Black Memorial Day weekend celebration. “Black Beach/White Beach” documents all of this:
The St. Helena Island Community Market decided to support the making of “Black Beach/White Beach” by welcoming filmmaker, Ricky Kelly to the inaugural “Gullah/Geechee Bike & Beauty” event. The film was one of the first two to launch the new “Gullah/Geechee TV & Movie Club.”
“Black Beach/White Beach” Filmmaker Ricky Kelly and Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation at the inaugural “Gullah/Geechee Bike & Beauty” event.
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) interviewed the filmmaker during the screening:
The audience was extremely pleased that they were the first to have an opportunity to see this powerful new film!
Others that attend “Black Bike Week 2017” will have an opportunity to screen “Black Beach/White Beach” also. Go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/black-beach-white-beach-a-tale-of-two-beaches-rough-draft-screening-and-qa-tickets-34513792683?aff=efbevent for tickets. This will be one of the many events taking place following the opening bike blessing down the road from Atlantic Beach:
If you are unable to make it to the Gullah/Geechee Nation to see one of the screenings, but you want to join us in assisting with raising the funds to complete the film and to keep up with the progress as the film continues its journey, please go to:
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- Tagged: Atlantic Beach, Black Beach/White Beach, Black beaches, Black Bike Week, Black bikers, Black history, Black Pearl, Black townships, documentary, film, Geechee, Gullah, Gullah/Geechee Nation, Gullah/Geechee TV, land ownership, Myrtle Beach, Queen Quet, Ricky Kelly, SC, South Carolina