Shout out to John Singelton.
In 1991, his epic film Boyz N The Hood came out to an audience desirous of seeing themselves in cinema. No… seeing ourselves really.
Not with the costume of ‘hippity-to-the-hip-hop’ caricature stuff that made big white studios feel like they were snapshotting us when they made films like Breakin’ and its sequel, Breakin’ 2. We do this with honest contemplation. Boyz N The Hood was the Gen Xer’s answer to Cooley High. And so… knowing the cinematic lineage of films that represent Black manhood helps you to understand the context of this film, Charm City.
It is a picture of Black men fellowshipping, testing boundaries of manhood and finding their own voice in the face of economic deprivation, emotional immaturity and oppressive community.
More than a story about biking, this story is about redemption. It is also a story about manhood, warping definitions of toxic masculinity through the cultural nuance of biking. Jahi Winston emerges as a fine character actor, embodying Baltimore to the fullest. Meek Mill’s character served as a witness to how one could use biking as a metaphor for freedom— when one feels trap— to articulate the prison of poverty and the human need to create rituals, reputations, and release.
We introduce you to Sony Pictures Classics and Overbrook Entertainment’s Charm City, a film that we believe will move you completely to a higher sense of compassion you have for the boys in your midst, starring Grammy-nominated Best-Selling Artist Meek Mill; Jahi Di’allo Winston (Queen & Slim, Proud Mary, The Upside); William Catlett, (Black Lightning), and Teyonah Parris (If Beale Street Could Talk, Dear White People, Empire and more).