By Samantha Ofole-Prince
A provoking and powerful film, Nate Parker's latest project "American Skin," follows a Black Iraqi War Vet, who seeks justice for his only son after he is killed by a white police officer.
This socially urgent narrative on police brutality and systematic racism, which is written and directed by Parker, stars Omari Hardwick, Beau Knapp, Theo Rossi, Shane Paul McGhie, Milauna Jackson, AnnaLynne McCord and Vanessa Bell Calloway.
In the film, Parker plays Lincoln Jefferson, a Marine veteran who has served two combat tours in Iraq. Now stateside, he works as a custodian in a prestigious California high school - a job he secured only to ensure enrollment in the school to his 14-year-old son KJ, following his divorce. One night, Lincoln and his son are stopped by police and an altercation leads to the fatal shooting of Lincoln’s unarmed son. Lincoln, hopeful the system will provide a trial, is dismayed to learn the officer responsible for pulling the trigger will go uncharged and will return to active duty without an indictment. Disillusioned by the fact he was denied a fair trial for the death of his only son, Lincoln desperately takes the matter into his own hands in a series of events he hopes will finally lead to justice for his son.
Parker has focused much of his life and career on addressing social injustice and creating content that addresses disparities for marginalized communities around the world. He first received critical attention for his starring role in "The Great Debaters" opposite Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. Other projects include George Lucas’ "Red Tails," about black airmen, the Spike Lee–directed "Red Hook Summer," and "Beyond the Lights," for which he was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Parker’s directorial debut, "Birth of a Nation" won the 2016 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award while shattering the record for the highest acquisition price ever paid at Sundance.
"In 2014, following the death of Michael Brown, I traveled to Ferguson, Missouri to gain a better understanding of the tensions between law enforcement and young men and women of color. It became clear to me, instantly, the disconnect in our understanding of citizenship, law enforcement, and our responsibility to preserve American life. As an American citizen, father, brother, son and artist, I felt compelled to use my platform as a filmmaker to respond to this crisis in a way that could not only promote social equity but initiate a global culture shift that can result in the preservation of lives. If saving one life is the only thing this film achieves, it will have served its core purpose," shares Parker. "By tackling difficult issues such as race, fear, and cultural division, we can set a course toward genuine racial healing. One that, if successful, can become a model for addressing other systemic issues in America and across the world."
"American Skin" releases January 15 in select theaters and Digital Platforms.
Check out the trailer below:
"I have developed a piece that I hope will challenge systems of oppression," says director Nate Parker
By Samantha Ofole-Prince