#Nah:’Detroit’ Trailer Has History BUT Erases Black Women

#Nah:’Detroit’ Trailer Has History BUT Erases Black Women

Kathryn Bigelow's anticipated film about the 1967 Detroit Race Riots released its first trailer and let's just say it's already lacking something...MAJOR.

by LaToya Cross, April 12, 2017

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#Nah:’Detroit’ Trailer Has History BUT Erases Black Women

Detroit film poster

Wait, how do you make a film about Detroit and exclude Black women in any prominent role?

How is it possible to create a film centered on Black rebellion without acknowledging the women that were part of the revolution?

That’s exactly what we’re seeing in the nearly three-minute first trailer for the once highly-anticipated film about the Motor City’s tumultuous 1967 race riots.

Starring John Boyega, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell and Laz Alonzo, under the direction of Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit is described as a “crime drama” set against the ’67 riots that were initiated by a police raid of an unlicensed bar (known in the city as an “after hours joint”), on the city’s Near West Side. Taking a violent turn, the dispute resulted in 39 deaths and hundreds of wounded people over a five-day span.

My grandmother, who lived on Hamilton and Collingwood near the looting and burned buildings worked at the Booker T. Washington Business Association during that time. She recalls the mass destruction as a result of the riots and having to be escorted to and from her destination.

“There were big army trucks and police standing around with their guns. It was scary. We were all scared. You basically had to get permission to leave your house,” she says with sounds of panic in her voice as she reflects on the memories.

She gasped when I informed her that the Detroit film trailer didn’t reflect any Black women.

“Oh no! That’s going to cause trouble.”

And she’s exactly right.

The problem with Bigelow’s Detroit is that—even if the trailer shows the least bit of the film—the idea of teasers is to give an intriguing scope of what’s to come. The summer of ’67 in Detroit was one of the most volatile Black rebellions of the 20th century and the choice to highlight imagery of White women and not women of color will cause more harm than good before the film even hits theaters.

It’s interesting that as I’m writing and dissecting this brief teaser, Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues” enters into my Pandora rotation.

There’s no doubt that this is an important film, but as Gaye sings: “It makes me want to holler and throw up both my hands,” at the thought that such a significant time in history could possibly erase the voices of Black women, the backbone of men and evolution.

A few more critical and applauding thoughts from social media can be viewed below:

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