Aug. 4, the nation will get another major wake-up call about our lack of civil rights in American in the form of the new movie “Detroit,” directed by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, who is best known for her visceral and hard-hitting work in “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”
“Detroit” is an Annapurna Pictures release and tells the gripping story of one of the most terrifying moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of ’67 and the murder, by the Detroit Police, of innocent African-American kids. Despite the eye witnesses, the police officers were found innocent of the murders. It’s an awful chapter in our history, again sending a message that the lives of African-American people do not matter and the police force in every part of the United States of America has an open pass to kill us at will.
It stars John Boyega (“Star Wars”), Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever, Jack Reynor, Ben O’Toole, Joseph David Jones, Ephraim Sykes, Leon Thomas III, Nathan Davis Jr., Peyton Alex Smith, Malcolm David Kelley, Gbenga Akinnabve, Chris Chalk, Jeremy Strong, Laz Alonzo, Austin Hebert, Miguel Pimentel, Kris Davis, with John Krasinski and Anthony Mackie.
Here is a brief excerpt of an hour interview with Jason Mitchell, who plays Carl Cooper in “Detroit.”
On police violence
“We can fight the same struggle, it’s all right with me. You know what I mean. That’s pleasing to me at some point because it can be anybody’s kid. You know what I mean?
My mom was in the Army for 20 years, so I had a military ID card for the majority of my life until maybe I was 22 years old.
I remember getting my head slammed on a car, on my own [car] trunk [by the police], and they went into my wallet and they saw my [military] ID and they looked at each other threw my stuff back inside [my] car and got in their [police car] and left.
I could not believe it. I could not believe what was happening. I did not have nothing. I did not do nothing wrong. Just wrong place, wrong time. There is a little box that gets checked.”
On being a Black man in America
“Before I label myself as anything that deserves to be in prisoned or shot in cold blood, or anything like that, I am just trying to life my life. I am just trying to be happy. It’s so powerful to see someone who says ‘this is not all right’ and even if they just thought that, for a second, I get some sort of satisfaction out of that. I am not petty as a person, but when white people have the same problems that Black people have with the police, I be like ‘all right.’ now you know. You got a little taste of what we deal with all the time.”
On working with Kathryn Bigelow
“If you look at Kathryn Bigelow and her work you know that it exceeds itself. Right? But then you’re talking about a piece of Black history that choose to make your next film. So, personally I don’t think as a young, successful Black man who, you know, I got a little bit of pull in Hollywood. I might be able to make movie here and there, [in Hollywood], but I guaranteed if I tried to make a piece of Black history, it would have not turned out like this. So I applaud her [Kathryn Bigelow] for having the balls to just be like, Yo, this is American history. It does not matter. Black, white none of that matters. Let’s make it the best that we can make it. That’s what counts. At the end of the day if we don’t feel the punch to this, it’s not the same. You can’t give people the history without the punch. She [Kathryn Bigelow] used all her accolades, all her pull and all her resources to make people come together, to make this happen. I think that’s so dope.