What’s it like to be among this group of young black filmmakers? I’ve worked with a lot of different people, directors that have done whatever, and Justin is such a top talent. We went to USC together, freshman year, and have been friends ever since. Like I said, I’m slow, so I didn’t even realize that we actually lived the Armstrong-Parker experience, because we lived on an all-black floor at USC.
I’m so fortunate to be this age, this person, this time of my life in this business. He’s just so fucking cool to be around, which makes it so much sweeter. What is it like to come back into this world with him? It was called Somerville Place and you had to apply.
We see a little bit of that as Reggie disappears, and as the rest of the campus is looking for him, but Marque wouldn’t have been able to go up on that stage in 106 [as Reggie does]. But Reggie, he may not be ready, but he still forces himself to get outside the house and make a decision. I was working out on my bike, going up hills and shit, thinking about it. They had other stuff planned, but I guess you couldn’t just go back to the levity.
Again, it’s back to whether he’s a man or a movement or both. I was surprised that Reggie could channel the experience into something, into a poem or any thoughts whatsoever. I was crying through my fucking sunglasses and big-ass helmet visor. After the confrontation night, I think the writers went back and were like, “Oh, we’re dealing with something different than we initially had planned.” It’s not like you can just have that, display that, and go back to hunky-dory, la-dee-da.
People are still doing this, that, and the other, some people with no ill intent. Shooting that episode, you were working with Barry Jenkins What was it like working with him, especially for that confrontation scene? One, Barry is an amazing human being — so generous, so kind, very specific on what he wants. There was communication there, but it wasn’t always through words.
I felt like we got each other, just being young black men alive today in America.
I got what he needed from a look and he got what I needed from a look, if that makes sense.
It was unspoken because this It was so hard to watch, especially when campus police arrive and they pull the gun on Reggie. I want to ask you about the final shot of the episode.
After it played at Sundance in 2014, it really broke out. It was amazing experience from the beginning to the end.The Reggie episode opens with a quote from James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” That’s Reggie’s motto and it drives a lot of his character.It’s like, “Is he a man or is a he a movement and can he be both? Reggie sticks up for everything that he believes in.At the end of that episode and going into episode six, Reggie’s like, “Oh shit, I am just a man and I don’t know if I want to be a movement or if I can be.” His father was a Black Panther and, in general, the human condition is living up to our parents’ reputations. He feels like Sam, who was leading the campus movement, has forgotten about the blackface party and betrayed him by dating a white guy.You know, I feel like Reggie was also putting Sam in the forefront because of not wanting to have that full responsibility himself, just being scared. Reggie gets in the fight with the white guy who wants to use the N-word and doesn’t understand why he can’t.
I didn’t know if they were actually going to call me, especially with this business.