Seems like street lights, glowing
Happen to be just like moments, passing
In front of me
So I hopped in the cab, and I paid my fare
See I know my destination
But I’m just not there
Roll Jordan Roll - Topsy Chapman
In a film that is all about the quiet moments, this song is the defining point where the silence needed to be broken. Roll Jordan Roll is a folk song from the African slaves during that terrible period in American history. The moment in 12 Years of Slave when the main character, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, starts singing midway through this song is when he faces his own mortality and realizes that cruelty of this world knows no bounds, but despite the cruelty we have to appreciate our brothers and sisters that are by our side. In a world sapped from humanity, he was still able to find humanity in knowing that he can still love and mourn. 12 Years a Slave is not only about the horrors of slavery, but it is also a tale about survival when all odds are against you and maintaining that hint of humanity in order to keep on living.
"I don’t want to survive. I want to live."