Written by | Ray Cornelius 

I had the pleasure of attending a special luncheon on Sunday afternoon hosted by The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) titled “Brunch with BELLE”. The invite only affair took place at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and was sponsored by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.  The event featured BELLE  director Amma Asante and the film’s star Gugu Mbatha-Raw along with prolific African-American historian and author, Dr. Gerald Horne.

Amma Asante

BELLE  director and filmmaker Amma Asante

BELLE  is Asante’s 2013 film inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing.  After meeting an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on changing society, he and Belle help shape Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.


During the luncheon, Dr. Horne led a discussion about the significance of Lord Mansfield’s groundbreaking Somerset Decision, which is also highlighted in his book The Counter-Revolution of 1776.

Afterwards attendees were then treated to special screening of BELLE  at the Plaza Theater which also included a post film Q&A led by Spelman College Professor of Film, Ayoka Chenzira along with Asante and Mbatha-Raw.  Take a look at a few photos below from the luncheon and screening:

Ayuko Babu, K. Joy Peters, Ravi Windom Moore and Audrey M. Johnson

PAFF’s Ayuko Babu with the lovely Audrey M. Johnson, K. Joy Peters and Ravi Windom Moore

Keith Knows Aishah Hyman

 Keith Knows/RC with Aishah Hyman of DJ Kemit’s Spread Love

Imara, Richard, Angela and guest

 Imara Canady, Brian Sanders, Richard Dent and Angela Robinson attending the brunch

Judith and friend

 Dawn Ferguson with Judith Service Montier, VP of Marketing for the Nat’l Center for Civil & Human Rights

Doc signing books RC with Terri Vismale Morris

 Dr. Gerald Horne signing books/RC with Terri Vismale Morris, Marketing Director of BronzeLens Film Fest

Amma, Margaret and Gugu

PAFF Atlanta Producer Margaret Kargbo with BELLE’s Amma Asante and Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Julie Amma Jason Gugu and Babu

 Julie Dexter, Amma Asante, Jason Orr, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Ayuko Babu

Dr. Barbara King Amma and Gugu

Dr. Barbara King, Amma Asante, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw shine on the red carpet

Discussion 2

Ayoka Chenzira during panel discussion with Amma Asante & Gugu Mbatha-Raw

BELLE  will be available on DHD beginning August 12 and on Blue Ray & DVD August 26.

Photo Credits: MeganAlodie for RayCornelius.com