By Marc W. Polite
Movies about writers are few and far between. Especially when we’re talking about Black writers and the struggle to successfully navigate through the publishing industry. “American Fiction” tells the story of a Black writer who strives to maintain their integrity. Jeffrey Wright portrays frustrated author Thelonius Ellison, a man who wants to be reflect the Black experience as more than just the time worn tropes that some are forced to fit into as a player in the publishing game. While there are some who hold that Black life in America is best represented by showing what is “real”, others may ask, what if that definition of real turns up being a caricature? Why can’t a more varied depiction of Black American life be regarded as just as real?
Are you willing to sacrifice your artistic integrity for “the bag?” At what personal cost? Based on the novel Erasure by Percival Everett, American Fiction gets into these questions, and more. It is a sarcastic, thoughtful, and necessarily scathing critique of how the American publishing industry pigeonholes Black writers.
I recommend American Fiction if you want to see something different, and more thoughtful about our culture.