There’s a level of foreshadowing that occurs before you watch a film where you already know the ending.
I knew before I watched Malcolm X that he would be assassinated in the Audubon ballroom in 1965. Watching Notorious (movie), the story of Christopher Wallace, reminded me of how vividly I can remember where I was the moment I found out Biggie was murdered. When you’ve read and heard the stories of people who have died, you really believe that you have an idea of what to expect.
Despite all that I knew about the story of Oscar Grant and how he was killed, nothing could stop the tears from falling from my eyes during the last 15 minutes of Fruitvale Station. The movie details the last 24 hours of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old killed at the Fruitvale train station in Oakland on New Years Day 2009.
This entire week, I had been reading the reactions of people on twitter so I knew I had to prepare myself. I tear up on the episodes of Fresh Prince when Will cries so I knew I was going to be emotional. To prepare, I grabbed some tissue from the bathroom for my friend and I because I knew we would need it.
I fought like Muhammad Ali to hold in those tears but when they came, the tears soaked up all the tissue I had and even the napkins I was using to wipe the butter off my fingers from the overpriced popcorn I bought. I didn’t want to sob loudly in the theater. I don’t like getting emotional in public. But while I was rapidly blinking my eyes to hold in the tears, I could hear the other patrons in the theater sniffling, coughing and rattling with tissue. The entire movie theater was in tears. My home girl buried her face in her hoodie.
I reminded her to use the tissue I gave her and she said she’d already cried through it. The film made you feel like you were witnessing the death of a family member. We watched him start his day with his family and saw his mom identify him at the morgue.
The film doesn’t gloss over who Oscar Grant was. He had served time in prison. He had just lost his job and he was quick-tempered.But he was also a father, a son, a boyfriend and a best friend.
Maybe it’s because we’re all still emotional after the Zimmerman verdict. But I left the movie theater completely pissed off. His killer only served 11 months in jail.
I decided from the moment I stepped outside of the theater that I had to do something.
What that is exactly, I’m not sure.
But I can’t let the feelings of anger and disgust I had when I left the movie theater and when I heard the verdict go.