Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Jasmine Williamson (Douglass High School)
History? Or just black history? This controversial topic has been on the table for years. But that did not stop Ava DuVernay from producing the film Selma. DuVernay was determined to keep a promise to herself. She said, “it was important to me that my voice, my vision, stayed intact.”
Selma hit theaters in January 2015, making $13 million on a $20 million budget during the first week it was released. Selma depicts the factual events that happened in Selma, Alabama about people marching for their right to vote during 1965. Selma has an all-star cast that you can’t miss: Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, and Common just to name a few. This is not just any other history movie, it’s the story of a moment that forever changed America.
The film shows the brutal treatment of African-American people, not just beating by police, but also killings. Those scenes are supposed to move you emotionally and make you feel some type of way, which they do successfully in the movie. The writers showed how people reacted to seeing the silent non-violent marchers being oppressed.
Dr. Martin Luther King (played by David Oyelowo) captures the doubts that King had in his attempts to get equality in voting rights for African-Americans starting in Selma. The film shows how much perseverance King had, but also the times where he wanted to give up because the task became seemingly overwhelming. No one has portrayed King in this manner before and it is interesting to see this side of him. The public has not really seen this, so it is a good insight into his mind, the ‘why?’ and the ‘how?’
Oyelowo wasn’t the only star that had big shoes to fill; King’s wife, of 15 years, Coretta Scott King was played by Carmen Ejogo. Mrs. King is portrayed as the back bone of the family. She is the one staying home with their four children Dexter, Martin, Yolanda, and Bernice holding everything down. There are moments where their marriage appears to be on the rocks, but in the end they pull through and Mrs. King stays beside her man.
Both Ejogo and Oyelowo have starred in major motion picture movies such as: “The Butler, Red Tails, and Sparkle”. So this is not Oyelowo’s first time tackling a movie about history, nor is it Ejogo’s first leading role. Now, you might ask “What sets Selma apart from other historical movies?” For one everyone wanted to be apart of this. Oyelowo, especially, was determined to play Dr. King in the movie Selma.
“I felt God tell me that I was going to play Dr. King and in Selma,” according to Oyelowo. Oyelowo knew Dr. King was a manof faith and knew without that faith. King probably wouldn’t have made it.
Erick Plyatt, teacher at Douglass, would highly recommend this movie, “It brings back to life what the people of Selma went through, it inspires people to get out and exercise their right to vote.”
Which brings up a good point about voting. With so many people turning 18 each day the importance of voting becomes crucial every year because the government still try to find ways to discriminate.
With all that being said, taking two hours out of your day to see this movie will definitely be worth it: An all-star African-American cast mixed with a devoted and talented female director who was also the first nominated African-American woman director for the Golden Globes. Selma most definitely deserves the title of best historical drama of 2015.