Written by: Darbrielle Thomas
The opening night is upon us for the highly anticipated re-telling of popular 80s and 90s rap group N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton, that depicts the lives of rappers Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, DJ Yella, and MC Ren and how the group came to be.
As it appears, the premiere of this movie should be a joyous occasion for the city of Compton and beyond. Movie goers should not applaud just yet, however, especially those patrons that plan on seeing the film in the southern California area. The midnight showing of the film premiered in select theatres around the country at midnight on August 14, 2015. However true, the only police force that deemed it necessary and appropriate to amp up security and police presence was the L.A.P.D.
“In light of everything that’s going on, we are dispatching additional officers to theaters that are showing the film,” LAPD spokesman, Jack Richter, told Variety. “It’s a combination of anticipating potential problems and responding to requests from theater owners. Sheriff’s patrol stations have been working with theater management in their jurisdictions over the last few weeks to develop safety plans and discuss security measures,” spokeswoman Nicole Nishida told Variety. “Deputies will be doing patrol checks during their shifts, and the department will be monitoring the release.”
A movie premiering about police brutality and rap music combating said brutality is being heavily watched and policed by the LAPD, this is not a coincidence. Black men and women and children are dying daily because of police violence and police lack of humanity when the question of black lives comes into any narrative. However, in false efforts to keep the peace “in light of everything that is going on” police have been asked to show up in numbers at theatres showcasing Straight Outta Compton. As the quote goes on to explain, the police have responded to that of the associates at theatres, or are going off of their own accord.
The only question that can be posed is why? Why is it that in the climate that black people are in that the mere sight of police as a means to mentally escape traumatic reality, why is it that police don’t understand that their presence is baiting? Why is it that law enforcement officers do not understand that during a movie that has heavy amounts of police brutality that the very same presence that mirrors the behavior of the movie and the black status quo that the last thing movie goers want to feel is scared and uncomfortable? It’s as if police want black people to react. Why? So they can be killed off? Paint a picture of “Disorderly conduct” and “their life or mine” and then finish the job? What is it about black people that is so confrontational that a movie cannot be viewed without theatre associates feeling so uncomfortable to the point where universal offered to the tab on law enforcement costs if necessary? The answer to all of this is racism.
During this opening weekend, be safe. See this monumental film in theatres if you wish. But please, whatever you do, do not stay home out of fear because that is what they want. Live. Thrive.
Black lives will ALWAYS matter.