Not enough is being said about the issues of color in the US legal system; especially in crime investigations and convictions. Black people are usually judged as guilty even before proper investigations. It is on this backdrop of skin color prejudice that the Netflix Film “Monster” is set.
The key themes in this film are; coming-of-age story and of the prejudices by the judicial system.
The film pits actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. as the character Steve; Steve is 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. Then Steve is 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.
Should one moment define your life?
MONSTER, from executive producers John Legend & Nas, and starring Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright and A$AP Rocky, premieres on Netflix on May 7. pic.twitter.com/hRQT2tmcyp
— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) April 6, 2021
“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.”
Fears Of A Black Parent
Jeffrey Wright and Jennifer Hudson play Steve’s parents and say the film spoke to the fears that the parents of Black children have. Africanews reports.
For Jeffery Wright; “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,” he says.
“‘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,” Hudson adds.
Although 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.”
Monster is Anthony Mandler is the Film directorial Debut.