I recently watched the 2012 film rapper Common starred in entitled Luv. The film centers around a troubled uncle, played by Common, who provides his nephew with a crash course on what it means to be a man. As I watched this film I could not help but to cringe throughout as I watched the uncle “educate” the nephew. I do not want to give away the film so I won’t go into detail but I will say that the film was very colorful and intense.
I am all for mentor-ship and young black males having roles models to pattern themselves after, however, I do think that those influences should be as positive as possible. Too many times our young black males are encouraged to be overly aggressive, domineering, and non-compassionate in regards to feelings; whether it be their own feelings or another person. Black men deal with enough pressure in society already and should be encouraged to constructively deal with their emotions in more peaceable manners outside of violence. The four corners of violence usually leads to trouble that may result in a young fellows life being lived out in prison or an untimely death. I think films like Boyz N Da Hood did an excellent job of depicting inner city crime and youth violence. The slew of movies that were intended to recreate that feel left me and I’m sure a lot of other people feeling dishearten. We need to see more films about black men leading our youth in a constructive way. Sure, we’ve all seen the movies where the brother plays a football or basketball coach and he mentors. That storyline is majorly played out. However, it is still relevant to our society because we as citizens of the United States have yet to make math and science a priority over Spaulding.
I am an advit fan of Common. I respect his music and overall think he’s a pretty cool guy. I think that he did a phenomenal job acting the role of his character. However, it doesn’t take away the mixed emotions that the film riles up. I respect other peoples art because art is subjective. My own personal opinion is that people of color should challenge themselves to move beyond perpetuating the stereotypes we should be dispelling.