Once I entered the screening of the Dope movie premiere a youthful man, well built in stature yet, sporting a genial anxious personality stood before the packed stadium and introduced himself as Shameik Moore, the protagonist in the soon-to-be summer hit, Dope, written by Rick Famuyiwa and executive produced by Pharrell Williams. Many 90’s moviegoers will remember Famuyiwa’s work in one of my personal all-time favorite movies, “The Wood”. Famuyiwa also directed, “Brown Sugar”. As Famuyiwa stood by Moore’s side, there was a camaraderie that was undoubtedly perceived, one that likely grows with the writer and the main character that helps bring the story to life. Their equal respect and humbleness was immediately apparent to the trained eye.
As the lights proceeded to die, all cell phones silenced, and the movie rolled. A voiceover by Forest Whitaker eased us into life in Inglewood with Malcolm and his single mother. Then the beat dropped. I won’t say that I expect movies like Dope to have amazing soundtracks, but I always look forward to it. Malcolm was a nerd, but not the average one. He was deeply connected to his love for music, which fuels his connection with his childhood friends, Diggy and Jib. They formed a band that has such a unique sound it’s difficult to even begin to label it based on genre. But I’ll tell you this much, it’s good music.
What’s a Dope movie without a rock-star style house party? Exactly, I don’t ever want to know. For those of you who are party thrill seekers, Dope packs a punch with more than one epic party featured in the movie. But don’t think the movie’s concept doesn’t have a serious turn. There are segments in the movie when current events are discussed. For example, Tyga’s character, De’Andre is discussing the effects of the war overseas with Dom, who is played by Rakim Myers, who is affectionately known by most of us as, A$AP Rocky, and it encourages the audience to reflect on their own views of war and politics as Dom’s rebuttal gives great insight to the pros and cons of all executive decisions that are made within the government. Dope is not just a comedy, but a movie that brings up real life issues and doesn't take away the seriousness within them, but also doesn't force their beliefs on the viewers. Dope makes you think.
So gratefully, gone are the days when movies that were produced only displayed one fragment of African American culture and music. Back in the 90’s, when more culturally authentic movies were on the rise, such as the Wood, there was a sense of understanding that although one might come from the hood, the eventual goal has always been to find a way out or make one. Malcolm has his heart set on attending Harvard, and his eyes on Nakia, which is played by the edgy yet glamorous, Zoe Kravitz. Dom maintains his bad boy persona by also craving a connection with Nakia. And let’s just say he’s a by any means necessary type of guy so Malcolm has tough competition. We can quote Wale here and highlight that, “The hood girls all want a smart ‘dude’ and the college girls all want a thug.” I can’t reveal whether this is true for this particular situation, but you’ll have to check out the movie on June 19th to find out. You won’t be disappointed.
Check out the newest trailer here.