HELLO AMERICA!—It doesn’t matter how much money “Straight Outta Compton” is pulling, it still paints a dismal, depressing picture of thousands of hard-working, struggling people who are desperate to lead decent and fulfilling lives.
The herd of low-life rappers occupying a few of the streets in the Compton area, throwing the “n” word amongst each other as if it was part of their family lineage was painful. If someone from another cultural group addressed them using that hated word, it would give them an excuse to wage war! Something is desperately wrong and twisted with the thinking of those who have a thirst and hunger to attack someone else for any reason.
When speaking with several minority youngsters about the film, they all claimed that it was based on the truth. Fine! However, it is not the only truth representative of places like Compton and the life people lead in their respective cities and towns. Those known notorious rappers highlighted were simply street gangsters, ignorant of respect for others, survivors who were obviously lost intellectually, emotionally, religiously and totally screwed when it comes to respecting those around them. It was all about survival.
There are so many inspirational stories of those who grew up under the same conditions and cultural limitations, simply hanging on to hope and dreams and, yet, were able to crawl out of their personal hell to reach a level of human respect; however, these stories are given very little attention or credence.
Many producers (usually Black) understand how the low class, uneducated or those who have very little or no hope at all for a better life will buy a ticket to justify whatever hang-ups they might have. It is not to say that the “Compton” film should not be produced or seen; quite the contrary. There should be some kind of balance where the public should be made more aware of people of color who are in our educational institutions on every level and what they accomplished under all odds in becoming successful.
There should be stories which might make a young black or brown kid leave a theater after watching a film filled with the desire to achieve or emulate a character in the story who “made it” under dire circumstances.
As a youngster growing up in a small town outside of Philadelphia, I watched films which affected my whole life as a writer and musician. They affected my belief that anything was possible if I decided it was something I had to achieve.
The film “The Corn is Green” with my friend Bette Davis was one of those stories which affected me quite seriously. I wouldn’t leave the house without a book in my hand and even at night, there would be one under my pillow. This was a film produced about a white boy who had dreams of escaping the coal mines in Ireland.
There should be stories like this for those of color who need to believe that anything was achievable. If so, possibly there might be more peace and respect in our towns and cities that are infused with people from every part of the globe seeking simply to create a decent life of freedom and a God-given right to exist.