AP Essay: Black male humanity shown in ‘Fruitvale’

July 28, 2013 • Entertainment

This publicity photo released by The Weinstein Company shows, from left, Michael James, Michael B. Jordan, Trestin George, Thomas Wright, Kevin Durand and Alejandra Nolasco in a scene from the film, “Fruitvale Station.” (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Ron Koeberer)

Oscar Grant did not deserve to die.

This is the central message of “Fruitvale Station,” a film dramatizing the real-life case of the young unarmed black man shot in the back by a white police officer in 2009. It’s a common message, often heard in film and life in general. But the way writer/director Ryan Coogler delivers this message is extraordinary.

As portrayed by Michael B. Jordan (beware of plot spoilers ahead) Grant is a great father — and a convicted felon. He loves his girlfriend — and he cheats on her. He wants to hold down a legal job — and he can’t make it to work on time. He’s a drug dealer who takes time to make his bed in the morning, a hardened convict and a mama’s boy — a thuggish angel.

By the time the credits roll, Oscar Grant has become one of the rarest artifacts in American culture: a three-dimensional portrait of a young black male — a human being.

Which raises the question: If Grant was a real person, what abLogin to read more

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