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‘Monster’ Film Highlights Black Prejudice By US Legal System

 

A coming-of-age story and of the prejudices by the judicial system are the key themes of the new Netflix film “Monster”.

The film pits actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. as the character Steve, a 17-year-old student from Harlem, who aspires to make films and is accepted into a top university but finds himself as an accessory to murder.

He’s put on trial, where the prosecutor describes him as a monster to the jury.

The story unfolds in Steve’s eyes as he awaits his fate.

“We’re demonising people because of their skin color and now the systems kind of support that and now the mindset and the culture all kind of has evolved into this thing that people think they’re in the right,” said actor Kelvin Harrison Jr.

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“The prosecutor thinks he looks the part, you know, so then this is what’s going to happen. ‘Oh, Steve, you have to prove your innocence, even though it is innocent until proven guilty, but you are guilty because you’re Black and you have to prove your innocence now, so now you have to put on a performance of who you want these people to see as to survive.

“That’s crazy. No one should have to go through that.”

Jeffrey Wright and Jennifer Hudson play Steve’s parents and say the film spoke to the fears that the parents of Black children have.

“There are all kinds of challenges for any parent, but there are added challenges, added pressures for Black parents in America because of a question that this film raises,” said Jeffrey Wright-

“‘Who do you see when you see my child? And what does that do to the psyche of my child? And potentially to the behavior of my child?’ How is he or she, you know, to discover adulthood, to find freedom, to express him or herself when no matter who they might portray themselves as express themselves as, there’s a resistance from outside to receiving them as they are.

“These things happen too often,” added Hudson.

The film can be hard to watch but Harrison challenges that it’s important to see the realities of what’s happening.

“We’re demonising people because of their skin color and now the systems kind of support that and now the mindset and the culture all kind of has evolved into this thing that people think they’re in the right.”

Anthony Mandler is the director in his first film.

Before that, he directed music videos for the likes of Beyonce and Rihanna.

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Written by PH

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