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In the Film ‘Detroit,’ 1967 Is the New 2017

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I wasn’t sure of what to expect before sitting down at a press screening of the new movie “Detroit,” but I knew it would have an impact on me. Films capture moments in time that allow us to do more than reminisce on the terrible outfits we wore years ago. Films allow us to reflect on the instances that defined an era, both good and bad. Without unveiling the entirety of the drama’s true story, I can say that “Detroit” tells a tale that we as Americans, especially African-Americans, are unfortunately all too familiar with.

Directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow (“Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty”), we’re invited into the inner-city apartments on Detroit’s 12th street during the 1967 riots. The movie touches on varying perspectives toward racial injustice in our country from both ends of the color spectrum. However, the stories told and the point of view they come from are nearly identical to issues we have seen in the news over the past few years.

Heart-wrenching moments throughout the film kept my heart racing every minute, from the beginning to the end. The lead actors in the film (John Boyega, Jacob Latimore, Algee Smith, etc.) each did an amazing job at prodding the audience to feel the emotions of the moment in our seats. I went from being angry to empowered to simply wanting to figure out what it was I could do to ensure that more stories like this could be told.

It was sad to know that as I watched a film about a tragic event that happened 50 years ago, I felt as if it could have been a clip that I would see on the news tomorrow. Our clothes have changed, the way we speak to each other has changed, but the underlying flaw in the great American Dream still has us waiting for the pile of black bodies being buried under American soil to end.

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As I walked out of the movie theater, I hoped that more people would come to see the movie and be inspired to create a new trend of staying “woke” and being aware of history. “Detroit” opened my eyes wider to the obvious parallel between 1967 and 2017. It is a movie that demands to be felt and tells a story that everyone should be aware of.

“Detroit” opens in theaters Friday, August 4.

Destine is a senior at Mays High School who writes for the amazing VOX Teen Communications.

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