Time and time again, we’ve lived through what seems like a non-stop cycle of police brutality through the eyes of marginalized communities, especially within the African-American demographic.
For most of us, we demand to see visible accountability in the aftermath of police brutality incidents, whether fatal or non-fatal. While accountability and justice are supposed to go hand-in-hand, I refer back to my previous statement regarding it being one drastic, inescapable cycle. Nate Parker‘s latest film, American Skin, switches gears on this age-old narrative in which justice becomes more than what is actually given.
Ex-Army veteran Lincoln “Linc” Jefferson (played by Parker) works hards to provide a better environment for his teenage son Kajani, also known as KJ. Everything seems to come through for the father-son dynamic duo: Linc finds janitorial work at a local private school. His employment with the school awards KJ access to the prestigious institution. Ahh yes! Parents striving to provide for their kids what they weren’t afforded growing up…it’s a play-by-play of access to the “American Dream.” Sooner than later, the “dream” is drastically cut short allowing reality to sink in for Lincoln.
On one fateful night, Linc and KJ are pulled over for a routine traffic stop. The routine traffic stop becomes deadly and KJ ends up not making it home safely with Linc. This particular scene in the film can reek of predictable outcomes for the movie’s plot; however, the plot that develops throughout the film is a refreshing take on the events following another tragic police brutality event.
Parker’s character Lincoln carries the film– and its supporting cast—into difficult conversations/topics that usually provide no answers. How do you seek justice when you know it’s never been properly awarded, ever? Would you take matters into your own hands? Without spoilers, I’ll provide some context here.
Imagine this: Peaceful protests after a police-civilian shooting. Maybe a riot here and there. Saddened family members begging for justice on our TVs and social media feeds. Remember that cycle from earlier? This is what I’m referring to here. I can’t speak for all within my community; however, it usually feels like one big okie-dokie. Lincoln echoes this exact sentiment in the film, and it feels like he’s speaking exactly to us and only us.
Watch American Skin on all premium video on-demand services, and then come back and comment on this post letting me know your opinions on the movie. Thanks for reading!
-TheOriginalChatman aka Jamal