The following is a feature by The Shadow League’s Ricardo A. Hazell:
There was once a time in which films were expected to tell a story of significance and depth. There was also a time in which artistry and craft were at the forefront of the creative mind.
Alas, these are not those times.
However, director Gina Prince-Bythewood reminds us why we go see films with her most recent offering “Beyond The Lights,” starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, and Danny Glover. Best known for directing such emotionally honest films as “Love and Basketball” and “The Secret Life of Bees,” Prince-Bythewood seems to excel at depicting people of African descent in emotionally realistic circumstances. I asked the director where she believed her eye for such things was developed.
“Growing up, even as a little kid, I’ve always loved writing stories,” she explained. “I knew that was something I wanted to do. I was adopted by white parents. So, my self-esteem was like nil. I just remember being 17 years old and going to the movies and the trailer for “She’s Gotta Have It” came up, and me looking up at the screen and seeing people that looked like me. The feeling that came over me was overwhelming. I could not wait to go see that film. I just had the urge to give others that same feeling that I had. To be able to see yourself up on the screen.”