North Texas Daily

‘BlacKkKlansman’ gives America the reality check it needed

‘BlacKkKlansman’ gives America the reality check it needed

August 19
20:03 2018

From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. Will the real Ron Stallworth please stand up?

Back in October 1978, police officer Stallworth (played by John David Washington) noticed a classified ad in the paper by the Ku Klux Klan. Stallworth, a black man, infiltrated the white supremacist group, which was founded in 1866 and still active today. His story would be on the big screen 40 years later with a brutally honest message in the end.

Just like all Spike Lee films, there’s a fast-paced tempo with a lot of old school soul in “BlacKkKlansman.” The heavy content of racist scenarios hit suddenly and frequently, but they never linger for too long. The weight of racist microaggressions from white characters is undermined by the frequent usage of the N-word, which was typically heard in every other line of dialogue.

For those deeper moments, it’s tough to watch Lee keep up this fast beat. Watching a racist white police officer sexually assault a black woman during an arrest had audiences holding their breaths in the theater. There would come sighs of relief when the next scene would be a funny joke at the expense of the main protagonist.

For the slower scenes of the film, the change in pace was intentional. The speeches given by famous black leaders of the time were meant to be educational bits of history. Showing portraits of lynched bodies with smiling faces of white children was reflective and telling of the time the movie takes place in.

The constant fast pace when it should have been slowed down in some parts of the film makes it an emotional roller coaster that doesn’t give you enough time to process the history, information or traumatic situations. The ending of the film, however, is the most talked about scene, which is why this is a certified five-star movie.

The film portrayed both sides of a power struggle: “White power” being the white supremacy seeking to diminish anybody who doesn’t have pure Aryan blood, and “black power” being the direct result of white supremacy as a means of survival against oppression. As the old saying goes, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality starts to feel like oppression.”

Showing real footage of the racists in Charlottesville brought the images of the Ku Klux Klan full circle. The footage of President Trump defending some of the Charlottesville protesters by calling them “fine people” was a bold statement on the part of Lee.

Beyond all of that though, was the sickening video footage of James Alex Fields Jr. ramming his car into a group of counter-protesters. The screams and disbelief of American citizens at the attack vibrated through the theater.

The tribute to the one victim murdered, Heather Heyer, demanded the attention of any spectator. The fading image of the American flag ended the film on a somber note of reflection.

Sometimes what is happening in front of our eyes is manipulated by a cloth that is red, white and blue, and this movie plays on that theory.

There were three black people in the theater the day I watched this film. The rest were white, and the theater was full. A few claps could be heard,  but most of the theater was silent.

My Rating: 5/5

Featured Image: Courtesy Facebook

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Jade Jackson

Jade Jackson

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