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The Big Payback

DIRECTED BY Erika Alexander & Whitney Dow

For the first time in American history, a tax funded reparations bill for Blacks is passed in Evanston, IL. Funded by a tax on cannabis, the program is set to deliver $10 million as a correction for the systematic bias historically inflicted upon its Black constituents. The Big Payback follows the fight of rookie alderman Robin Sue Simmons as she leads the community in an uphill battle to obtain this ‘big payback’. Meanwhile, in Washington DC, the formidable Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee continues the fight to pass HR 40: a national bill languishing in Congress for 30+ years, to examine the merits of introducing reparations for slavery to African Americans. While the racial reckoning of 2020 plays out it the background, the two women navigate supporters and detractors, Black and white, in this quest towards correcting historical wrongs.

Erika Alexander (actress, Living Single and producer of John Lewis: Good Trouble) and Tribeca Festival alum Whitney Dow co-direct this journey of a Black woman stepping into her power and creating measurable change.

The Big Payback will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 11, 2022. Tickets for both in-person and virtual screenings are available here.


"With a cameo by TaNehisi Coates, this informative, insightful window into the legislative process brings with it an uplifting message championing the rights of citizens to challenge the status quo and gives needed exposure to the conversation around reparations."

—Karen McMullen

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