The X in Scotland is a short film looking at what the life and words of Malcolm X means to young Black and Muslim Scots. Shot in the 1990s, many interviewees mention the racist murder of Axmed Sheekh, who was attacked and killed on Edinburgh’s Cowgate. Nowadays it would be Sheku Bayoh’s name they would say, who died in police custody with a number of injuries. The film, unfortunately, has a timeless quality.
The interviewees often lament how Malcolm X’s name and image has been co-opted as a meaningless fashion statement appropriated by white people. He is a tshirt or hat to them, that edgy type of cool associated with interactions with objectified blackness. A symbol to signal some cultural capital that is completely divorced from actual anti-racism work. It’s depressing.
This film seeks to reclaim Malcolm and his message for the people it was intended for, and who it was life-changing for. And hopefully that will keep the flame burning for the next generation to see it. God knows, we still need it.