Tag Archives: Trayvon Martin

Black Men As Sympathetic Characters

I have seen two movies in less than a week, Sorry To Bother You and Equalizer 2. There will be no recaps as this is not a movie review. Suffice it to say, see both. They are really good.

What struck me most about both films, is the presence of a black male character for whom the audience roots for. In the era of #BlackLivesMatter and the death of young black men scattered throughout social media, it is not characteristic of mainstream media to showcase these men in a sympathetic light. Trayvon Martin at 15 was described as a man and portrayed as a thug. Michael Brown was portrayed in the same manner. It is notable to see young black men on screen, imperfect and yet deserving of empathy and protection. Lakeith

The character Chris Washington in Jordan Peele’s Get Out had audiences cheering for a dark-skinned black male as he fought white oppressors to free himself from a prison they had lured him into. Talk about revolutionary. In, Sorry to Bother You, the main character Cassius Green, fights selling out to “the man” and capitalistic oppression of others. In Equalizer 2, Denzel Washington’s character Robert McCall risks his life to save a young black man entangled with gangs and drugs.

The characterization of these black male characters as human, relatable, and sympathetic is an act of resistance. It is also why representation matters. We need African American creatives of all types making movies, TV shows, books, sculptures, architecture – projecting a vision of ourselves into the future. I am hoping that the works of Ryan Coogler,  Antoine Fuqua, Jordan Peele, Boots Riley, are trailblazing and not just trend.

I am finishing up Parable of the Sower  by Octavia Butler. I read recently that Ava Duvernay is bringing Butler’s Dawn, to screen. I am looking forward to a similar wave of heroic black female characters for audiences to cheer for being brought to life.

Blues for Mr. Charlie – James Baldwin

I was going to go see Think Like A Man when I decided to do something a little more intellectually stimulating. I perused my email for event alerts and check out Art and Seek and find that SMU is performing a James Baldwin play. I recalled reading the play in college so I thought this may be interesting and it is only $13.00.

I was simply blown away. The caliber of production and acting was far above what I have seen in college productions. There were a couple of weak cast members but overall quite professional.

Above the production quality the story drama was shockingly relevant today. Let me backtrack a bit. Blues for Mr Charlie is about the killing of a young, cocky black man who comes back to the south after being "ruined" up North by a white man. The dialogue and character development are so layered. Baldwin gets into the psyche of his characters and the story develops into something more complex than the black versus the white side of things. A picture of Trayvon Martin hauntingly swung from a tree wrapped in newspaper headlines.

I cannot tell you how Think Like A Man ends. I have heard a thing or too about Michael Ealy and a seen with Taraji Henson and chocolate. lol I can tell you that I made the right entertainment choice and left the theater feeling a little more enlightened than when I came.