Straight Outta Compton saw an overwhelming victory this weekend at the box office with a $56 million opening – about $31 million more than producers expected. However, this wonderful accomplishment for the movie that features a predominantly African-American cast, was eclipsed by the strong presence of security and law enforcement, particularly at black, urban Los Angeles theaters. But why would the city take such action when the majority of shootings and violence at movie houses, have been committed by white men in quiet suburbs?
“Straight Outta Compton” is a biographical drama about the California-based music group, N.W.A. (Ni**az With Attitudes) who revolutionized Hip Hop/rap. Many people identified with their music through the group’s chronicling of their own lives as they faced serious hardships.
The movie could not have come at a better time. Much of what they were challenged with, is being experienced by African-Americans everywhere today.
Poverty, prejudice, and violence are just some of many issues that plague the black community.
With the movie’s producers, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube (also members of the now-defunct N.W.A) at the helm of the project, it can only be expected that most aspects of their lives that may be hard for some to accept, would be documented in the film.
Police brutality and racism have been a sore spot for many Americans, more so, the ones who refuse to address it.
And so, Straight Outta Compton, fully represents these issues up close and personal.
The country has experienced some of the most tragic movie shooting deaths, all committed by white men. Yet, the Los Angeles movie theaters patronized by mostly blacks, were greeted with metal detectors and surly security guards.
Actions like this one are usually taken by out-of-touch police commissioners, who get a thrill from inciting police behaviors that will in turn incite civilian unrest, justifying their actions from the outset.
But thankfully, there were no incidents and all was peaceful.
There is an unfair assumption that wherever black people are, violence and discord will follow. Yet, the latest acts of terrorism committed against innocent moviegoers have been by white men.
What’s even more interesting is that the movie theaters in which these shootings occurred, were showing movies that featured a predominantly white cast.
In late July, a 58-year-old white man opened fire in a theater killing 3 people, himself included, and wounding nine others, while the movie “Trainwreck” was playing.
The tragedy prompted comedien and star of Trainwreck, Amy Schumer to deliver condolences over social media and more significantly, rally for safer gun laws and regulations with her Senator cousin.
But would Amy have spoken out against guns if her movie was not the one that was playing?
Over the past few months, there have been several tragedies involving Caucasians committing crimes against blacks, but no one really comes to our defense.
Instead, black victims are usually urged by others to not make it a “race thing”.
Moreover, justifications for the killer’s actions quickly pick up steam. Mental illness, unfortunately, seems to be the go-to excuse when the perpetrator is white.
It was completely unwarranted for city officials to make the decision to beef up security at Los Angeles movie theaters showing “Straight Outta Compton”, just because the context or theme may expose some truths about injustices persistent with the struggle of the black community.
My hope is that people continue to embrace “Straight Outta Compton”, in that it does not serve as an accusation against white people by blacks, but rather, a glimpse into the lives and plight of African Americans, all with the intention of moving forward and fixing our relationship……….together.
Image Sources: cnn.com; latino-review.com; en.wikipedia.org