Last week I attended a private viewing of an upcoming movie “Waves” The trailer looks dope. It stars Sterling K. Brown from “This Is Us” and “Black Panther” and a couple of extremely talented young people you probably haven’t heard of, Kelvin Harrison, Jr. and Taylor Russell. Look out for them in the future, they were dope.
I’m not going to give the story away in case you want to see it, so don’t worry. What I will say is that I was very disappointed at the writer/director’s, Trey Edward Shults, lack of social responsibility in how he chose to portray this family and who they interacted with. Here’s the log line for the film:
“Traces the journey of a suburban African-American family – led by a well-intentioned but domineering father – as they navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of a loss.”
In this film the family deals with an overbearing father, the wife and husband are not loving toward one another so the marriage is on the rocks, we don’t see any loving behavior between them, we don’t see that the son and daughter(both in high school) love/like each other, and we don’t see that the children love/like their parents. They don’t have a community of friends/co-workers/family that they have a loving or even liking relationship with. They are never seen or interact with any positive Black people throughout the entire film.
The son is in relationship with a Latina, we see her family as loving and we see her as loving and supportive. The son is arrested and is pretty much erased from all interaction from the family going forward. Erased!
The daughter is awkward and silent. A white male is introduced to “save” her from not knowing love and in turn the daughter supports him by pushing him to visit his dying father in the hospital by taking her car and driving for days to another state. And no, her parents have no idea where she is…for days. He never asks how she feels about her home life or actually supports her in any way with what she is going through.
While the film dealt with issues in the Black community that should be faced, the writer did a poor job with being socially responsible with how this Black family and their environment was portrayed. And because he is a white man, it probably never crossed his mind.
When I say socially responsible, I am saying what messages are you telling everyone who watches this film about Black families. That even in trying times, we don’t have any Black people in our village to lean on. That we can’t be in or have access to any loving relationships in our village. That an overbearing Black father can’t show that he actually loves his children or wife. That good relationships are not found among Black people. The kids friends, classmates, teammates, who they partied with, at the store, etc were all non-black. This family started out broken and ended far worse than they started. On a sub-conscious level showing images like these to the masses is extremely dangerous.
After the film many people applauded, there were a lot of students from Duke Ellington School of the Arts. One student wanted his father to see it in hopes of his father gaining a different perspective on how to communicate with him, another played sports and hoped his father would watch as well, and more brought up mental health and how it’s needed in the Black community. I wonder were they able to look at those images on a deeper level.
There was Q&A with members of the cast, including the writer and what shocked me was that the film was written based on a lot of his life’s experiences. I truly had a WTF moment. If that’s the case, why was the film cast with a Black family??
What do you think? I’d love to know your thoughts.