I read in the New York Times that New York City police, in what some reports are calling an apparent work stoppage, have sharply cut down on their actions on the street, with parking and traffic tickets dropping more than 90 percent. This weekend, I went with my 12-year-old son to see “Selma” at the Magic Johnson theater on 125th street. I came out of the theater to a $35 traffic ticket.
The movie was worth the price of all the tickets I had to pay. In recent months, there has been a wide range of films in theaters with African-American themes–“Selma,” “Belle,” “Top Five,” and “Beyond the Lights” among them. None of the films has been a blockbuster at the box office, but “Belle” and “Selma” both have a shot at revenue-boosting Oscar nominations.
Several friends of mine have complained that some of the humor in “Top Five” is too crude for their tastes, but for the most part all of these films are the kinds of offerings that audiences, particularly moviegoers of color, have been hungering for Hollywood to make.
James Baldwin, in his collection, “The Price of the Ticket,” once wrote that “It goes without saying, I believe, that if we understood ourselves better, we would damage ourselves less.”
I think my son understood a little more about his own history after seeing “Selma.”
Now it’s time for more people to go see these projects so that studios will be encouraged to make more.
Just be careful where you park.
Check out my new novel “Game World.”