XLII: Blindspotting | BlacKKKlansman

Now, initially this was going to be a rave review of the movie Blindspotting, but then, my law school's Black Law Student Association went to see the BlacKKKlansman, and I decided that there was no way that I could NOT write about it. 

In my opinion, the BlacKKKlansman did everything wrong and Blindspotting did everything right. They might as well have taken the last 5-7 minutes of the BlacKKKlansman and made that the entire movie because, I promise, that would be better than the crap that I spent two hours of my life watching.

Now, there were some high points, and good lines to this movie, but the rest of the movie was filled with horrible awkward silence, bad "movement music" and characters that didn't quite curl over. I know that people are raving about this movie because it is controversial, but I cannot get with that as being the reason that we should rally behind it. Being Black these days is controversial, so give me a good movie if you want me to watch it just because its "controversial". 

Yes, it depicts the way things were, and, honestly, the way that things still are. Yes, it addresses racism on the home front. Yes, it shows the lengths that people will go just to hate the African American race. But, a lot more of what is does, is add fuel to the racist's fire. We are shown scenes that are supposed to open our eyes to injustices, but, we knew these things! They aren't a surprise, so all that they are when we see them on screen the way that they were put up is nothing but a trigger. It's fine to be triggered, but don't make a movie like this and say that it's for the movement unless you're referring to the racist's movement because, in my opinion, this movie is just a rule book on how to better HATE us (what names to call us, what ways to disrespect us, how to kill us, etc.).

These may just be my thoughts but: the message was amazing, and the delivery was whack. I am not a fan of the BlacKKKlansman at all. Maybe others who have seen it feel differently! Either way, I'd love to heat your thoughts on it.


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Blindspotting

Written By: Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal

Directed By: Carlos Lopez Estrada

Now, Blindspotting is a movie that follows two main characters, Collin (played by Daveed Diggs) and Miles (played by Rafael Casal). We watch as Collin tries to survive his last three days of probation alongside his eccentric and unorthodox best friend, Miles. 

The movie is centered around life in West Oakland in today's world. It addresses issues that many African American males face today. And, although this movie did not set out to cover as much as what the BlacKKKlansman attempted to cover, what Blindspotting did cover, was brilliantly done. 

Throughout the movie, we see a mix of the struggle of being an African American male in today's society; with trying not to further feed the stereotypes and stigmas that follow having darker skin; the struggle within an interracial relationship to keep your racial identity; police-involved shootings; and, post traumatic stress disorder. 

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The movie walks us through the day-to-day routines of Collin and Miles. We see Collin leave his apartment (if you can call it that), go for his morning run, pick up his best friend Miles, head to the corner store for a Green Juice, and then go to work. He lives out each day just trying to be as good as possible to avoid ruining his last days of probation (which keep in the county where he currently resides). After a long day out, however, Collin finds himself rushing back to his apartment to make it back before his curfew when he is stopped at a red light that seems to last an eternity.

As he sits and waits, he sings to himself, which was one of my absolute favorite parts of this movie (the random singing and rapping), and then, just as the light turns green and he begins to accelerate, an African American male runs into the front of his truck. He stops the truck and looks in shock at this man before noticing that the man is running from a police officer who is pointing a gun at him as he runs for his life. The officer stops running right next to the drivers window of Collin's truck and shoots the unarmed man 3-4 times in his back. He then looks at the frightened face of Collin for what feels like an eternity before running over to address what he had just done. Collin then rushes home and is visibly confused and angrered by what he just witnessed. 

We get a lot of laughs from this movie, but we also gain a lot of insight from it. There are so many one-liners that are so relevant, so necessary and so on point with everything going on today. This movie strikes the perfect balance of comedy and much needed information. 

Something that we see a number of times in this movie is Collin working hard to keep the trauma of what he witnessed, by no fault of his own, from controlling his thoughts, fears and emotions. It all comes to a head in three pivotal points in this movie: (1) once when Mile's son finds and begins to play with a gun on their living room floor, (2) again when Collin is finally fed up with Mile's antics resulting in an argument between the two after running from the scene of a fight (started by Miles), and (3) when Collin is finally in the face of the officer who shot the unarmed Black man, afraid, angry, raw, and ready. 

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MY FAVORITE PART(S):

When Collin and Miles are arguing about Mile's dumb decisions and it dawns on Collin that Miles is actually the "evil" that the cops these days are trying to combat...

The cops seem to be searching the streets and profiling men that look just like many African American men these days -- jeans, hoodies, sneakers, dreads/braids (... a fro or any type of hair with a kink to it). It made Daveed's character approach many instances by overcompensating and trying to be overly "normal" to avoid getting in trouble.

We watch him live a perfectly normal life, be a respectful man, work a job where he is belittled while watching the city that he loves being gentrified before his eyes and yet, he still does not get to feel as though he is good enough to be safe in his city. 

This scene is powerful because all of the work that he has to do to get a fraction of the respect that his best friend, who is white, gets is finally realized. He states that Miles "... is the N*gga that they're looking for..." and that it's not him, and I like that! 

We watch people of other races acting out and being excused over and over. We see it when we turn on the news, we see it when we go outside, we see it on our social networking sites and yet, when a Black man or woman does something wrong, the first things mentioned are what they've done wrong and everything they've done wrong in their lives. In addition to that, the number of Black men and women that actually get to see the light of day after a police encounter is few and far between, while we watch white men, for example, shoot schools and churches and walk out with a full police escort. The consequences for actions and treatment differences are insane and this movie shows it in many brilliant ways. 

 A final favorite is definitely the one that goes along with this picture!  Miles, in another 'get money quick' scheme attempts to sell Collin's mom's old flat irons at a local beauty shop (shoutout to Tisha Campbell Martin), but has to prove that they actually work before being able to get the sell.  This was just another testament to the friendship shared between the two main characters. And, as big on friendship as I am, I appreciated their bond the most!

A final favorite is definitely the one that goes along with this picture!

Miles, in another 'get money quick' scheme attempts to sell Collin's mom's old flat irons at a local beauty shop (shoutout to Tisha Campbell Martin), but has to prove that they actually work before being able to get the sell.

This was just another testament to the friendship shared between the two main characters. And, as big on friendship as I am, I appreciated their bond the most!


Really I can't say much else except, GO WATCH THIS MOVIE! Get into the storyline, and more importantly, give this gem of a film more airtime. 

Many of us probably haven't even seen one ad for this movie! But, that doesn't mean that it is any less important. I beg and highly recommend that you get to the nearest theater still showing this film and show some support! The more you support, the more it will be offered on the big screen.

 The brilliant minds behind the film, Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal.

The brilliant minds behind the film, Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal.