2016. Oxford University. A statue of Cecil Rhodes.
Jess and Lydia are students at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Neither are white. Both are falling apart. Jess is leading a campaign to get a statue of Cecil Rhodes removed from campus. Lydia is trying to challenge and decolonise the curriculum they are taught. Their mission is to get their university to be as inclusive and accepting as possible – so why does it feel like they’re fighting on their own?
Based on the real life events of the Rhodes Must Fall movement at Oxford University, Essentially Black looks at what happens when race and elite universities collide, and asks who truly has the right to protest in a time when representation and authenticity are being called into question.