A movie to mend the social fabric of our cities
Individuals can transform at risk youth one group at a time. Movies can change society.
have a project I would dearly love to have Dreamworks or another major Hollywood studio care about very deeply. I would like it to be the magnitude of Saving Private Ryan. The move will, give little black male children that vision we have heard so much about since the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s speech. My piano teacher told me a six year old white boy came to her house for his lesson and said, “This is going to blow your sox off,” and he sat down to play. He was not all that well prepared but he had the hutzpah to strut in, sit down and expect approval. There is a deep undercurrent in this vignette. We give this confidence, humor and comfortable interactions to our white boys. Who and what are doing this for the little Black boys.
What if a movie could give little black boys as young as four or five a deep, enduring sense of potential? What if they went into a theater time and time again, and when the lights went down, and the movie started, they believed? I use the words Black boys knowing full well that Black men were called “boys” for far too long. I could use “little African American male children,” which is ponderous and takes all my passion away. As a white woman I didn’t know that boy was an insult to an African American male to this day. Last week, II asked a black man what he thought of my idea of helping Black boys by way of movies, and he said, in a pointed but polite way, “Maybe you could find a better word than “boy.” I am talking about little kids, and I know language matters, but really, they are what matter.
I asked Black women how it would help them if Black men were more peaceful, better educated and had more pride in themselves instead of protective braggadocio. I asked, “What if they had quiet confidence?” Most said a simple phrase, “It would help.” Disney has transformed little girls into princesses time and time again. Do you know any little girl who doesn’t know how to put on a tiara and stand properly, regally? The simplest princess dress transforms a little girl into a graceful monarch. Suddenly she takes charge of her world. Why not do that for the black boy child? Dreamworks is aptly named and transforms children into amazing creatures in their minds. Both have the writers, animators and creativity abounding to make that movie, and more – to create that valued Black boy child so he knows he is valued. Can you imagine a world of proud Black young men who don’t die by gunshot, ever. Movies can make that happen, over time,by giving them a new vision. Movies can educate them, and make it smart to be smart, not smart assed. Imagine if Dreamworks or Disney made this movie, and another one, and little by little Black youth don’t go to prison because they learned better things to do. Because of these films, Black men headed families with the same aplomb white men do. White men succeed or fail, but they expect they can do it. It is not fair the Black little boy doesn’t grow up with the same presumption.