Movie Review - Being Black Enough or (How To Kill a Black Man) - Dances With Films Festival
In several ways, Rice's film felt like a live-action version of Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks or it felt like a worthy successor to Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle. Not since that 1987 film has there really been a critique or rather condemnation of certain racial stereotypes in and around black culture, especially those perpetuated by rap music. Rice isn't saying anything new. The basic idea is what John Singleton was also saying in his iconic Boyz n the Hood (1991). Rice is merely saying it in a more direct and bolder way, certainly in a more comedic way and in a way millennials might understand.
The premise is slightly reminiscent of Class Act (1992), which was itself an urban retelling of Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper. Rice's film doesn't have Cody and Kyle actually switch places. Mainly, Rice doesn't seem to want to give equal time to the idea that acting white is as bad or as destructive as the idea of acting black, at least in the context presented here.
As a black person or a person of color, it can feel like one is being pulled in two directions or one has to be two, different people because there is a culture divide and in order to survive one has to put on this act. Rice quotes W. E. B. DuBois who wrote about feeling like two people or "double consciousness" in The Souls of Black Folk. DuBois talked about an act that black people had to adopt when around white people. Rice proposes that some black people have to also put on an act when around other black people.
Even though rap culture has become mainstream in many ways, unless one pursues a career in rap music, then acting like a thug will not get you very far. Yet, some rappers think that putting on that thug costume is what will make them seem authentically black. Rice underlines this point. Rice gets very manic by the end, breaking the narrative and deconstructing this thug performance and thug mentality that Cody embraces but ties it back to slavery. He makes it clear that, yes, a lot of this was put onto black people by racism but he also makes clear that a black person doesn't need to glamorize his chains.
Not Rated but contains language, violence and sexual situations.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 31 mins.
Dances With Films Festival on June 10th at 7:15PM.
Visit the film's website BeingBlackEnough.com.
For more information, go to Devin Rice Studios web site.
Follow Devin Rice on Twitter @ddevinrice.