A review of “Deacon King Kong” by James McBride which tells the story of Deacon Cuffy Lambkin, better known as “Sportcoat”, and the chain of events he unwittingly sets in motion when he shoots Deems Clemens, the leader of the neighborhood drug dealers. The story is primarily set in a fictional housing project, the Causeway Houses or Cause, and its surrounding neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. It features an expansive cast of characters that might initially take a bit of time to differentiate but they become richly detailed and fleshed out as the story progresses. This is an incredible book and probably one of the best fictional books that I’ve ever read.
Lonnie Franklin, a well-liked man from South LA was arrested on suspicions of being a serial killer. He was believed to have killed more than 100 women over a span of 25 years. The documentary “Tales of the Grim Sleeper” attempts to shed light on the murders, police investigations, community response, and Lonnie Franklin.
“Set It Off” is a 1996 film that tells the story of four Black women in Los Angeles who decide to get even with a world that seems intent on trying to keep them down. Friends since childhood who have grown up together in a housing project, the women experience a series of setbacks as they try to improve the living situations of themselves and their loved ones. Desperate and with little left to lose they decide to start robbing banks with hopes that the money will enable them to escape. But while each heist offers a bigger payday they also bring more problems and complications.
“In the Heat of the Night” is a 1967 murder mystery set in a Southern town that sees a local police chief try to solve the crime with the assistance of a Northern homicide detective. What sets this film apart from your standard crime flick is that it’s layered with social commentary about the changing roles and expectations for Black men during this time. As the characters interact with residents of the town the movie shows how various facets of such a society perceive and react to the presence of a Black man who exudes authority and erudition.
“Menace II Society” is a 1993 film written by Tyger Williams and directed by The Hughes Brothers. I consider “Menace II Society” to be a part of the classic 1990s Black film canon. It contains similar themes to “Boyz in The Hood” and “South Central “by telling the story of young Black men growing up in environments where gangs fill the gaps left by their absent fathers.