By Marc W. Polite
The issue of unequal treatment and murder of Black Americans by the police is an ever-present concern. It sparked numerous protests last year, and the issue even became a matter for presidential campaigns. President Biden spoke out on last year’s high profile murder of George Floyd, and signed executive orders meant to address criminal justice disparities. Nate Parker in his latest film American Skin deals with this contentious matter.
Nate Parker plays Lincoln Jefferson, a Marine veteran who loses his son Kijani to a police encounter during a routine traffic stop. Having to go through the ordeal of losing his son, and then witness the officer who killed him walk, Lincoln has had it. Instead of taking the verdict lying down, “Link” gathers a crew of Black marine vets he knows are down, and storms the precinct. They take a Black police captain hostage, then gather a sort of “people’s tribunal” to charge the police officer who killed his son.
American Skin is an intense film, and will provoke some very uncomfortable conversations. We see the powerlessness of a grieving Black parent, the machinery in place to pressure the family of the slaughtered to “call for calm”, and the all too familiar deflection of the police authorities. When this country witnessed angry Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol building three weeks ago, it makes the point for us about how de-escalation is not afforded to Black people.
American Skin also stars Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi, Milauna Jackson, and Beau Knapp. It is available now on Vudu, Apple TV, I-Tunes, and various other platforms. Visit the American Skin official website to find out more.