All Voices Matter: Us shatters stereotypes


Prachurjya Shreya

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

Aviance Pritchett, Staff Reporter

Jordan Peele’s Us made $70 million in its opening weekend. That’s the second-best opening for a movie in 2019, the best opening for a live-action original film since James Cameron’s Avatar, and the best opening with a black female lead. Us is a great film already, but what really made it great, besides Lupita Nyong’o’s amazing performance, was the portrayal of a black family. They were shown in a positive, normal light; they acted just as any other family would. It’s not often that you see black families portrayed in such a light in movies, much less a horror movie. Black people are more than just Tyler Perry movies—they’re capable of being flexible and capable in any role, and it’s high time we realize that.

Jordan Peele said himself that he couldn’t see himself casting a white lead in his future movies, and I don’t see a problem with that. People of color are told to make their own pieces of media instead of “forcing diversity” onto current media, so when we decide to do just that, why do people complain? We make movies that represent us, and it’s not just to make some grand political statement. We’re not that represented in media as it is, and even in the cases that we are, we are put in stereotypical roles that are sometimes damaging and result in people of color being taken less seriously.

Peele’s decision to give lead roles to black people instead of white people doesn’t mean that he deems white people unfit to be in his movies. We see white people in lead roles almost all of the time. He’s using his power as a director to give black people a chance to show their talent, to tell stories from a different perspective or in a different form. There is no such thing as forcing diversity, because diversity is not fictional; we see it everywhere, especially in our city of Frisco. Why have a problem with movies that portray something realistic? Why have an issue with reality?

If people are angry at movies like Us where a black family is at the center of the story instead of the white family, they might as well be angry at the thousands of other families like them that exist outside of movies. And that sounds ridiculous already, which should be more of a reason to really just relax. It’s good to represent the underrepresented. It’s good to shatter stereotypes. What good would you gain from doing the opposite?