Art by Lloyd Avery

As a Black kid on the southside of Chicago, I was always told how rough it was to grow up in my neighborhood. But because I had to be in the house two hours BEFORE the street lights came on, I never got to see a lot of the violence first hand. I didn’t have a lot of friends I could pour out liquor for, because I didn’t have a lot of friends period. So, like Nas, I got all of my drama from my window, or from the movies I watched.

I legit memorized the 2Pac monologue/rant from “Juice” and would recite it to myself anytime I was sent to my room or put on punishment. Not picking up after myself or not doing the dishes was my pain, my struggle.

My mom: Clark! No going outside today, I want you to stay in your room and think about why that chicken I told you to un-thaw is still in the freezer!
Me: (Alone in my room) We run from cops. We run from Radamez. We run from old man Quillez and that bullsh*t store, when he pulls out that bulls*it gun! All we do is run! I FEEL LIKE IM ON THE GOD*MN TRACK TEAM!

*SCENE*

“Check ya self Q!” We need 2Pac’s audition tape.

That cathartic diatribe is so good, blessed, and balanced that it was the first one I ever recited when I auditioned for a play in college. Tupac Shakur, the gangster rapper, was one of our finest actors and would have snagged so many SAG awards by now. Yet, as good as it is, this scene is only an honorable mention in my top five “Blamatic” moments. Warning: you might need a tissue.

 

5) WHEN CLEO DIES IN “SET IT OFF”

Queen Latifah was born to play this role. It was her “a star is born” moment. There comes a time in everyone’s life where you either can turn yourself in, or hit the gas on a low-rider and go out in a hail of gunfire. We’ve all been there. You can ask the toughest dude you know, and they will agree Cleo is one of the “hardest characters” ever. #thugtear

4) WHEN ANTHONY GET SENTENCED TO LIFE IN “DEAD PRESIDENTS”

Larenz Tate can be anybody. His catalogue runs from an awkward nerd in “The Inkwell” to a love smitten slam poet in “Love Jones” to Ashanti’s jealous, abusive husband/video villain. But it was as this damaged Vietnam War veteran in 1996’s “Dead Presidents” that we were able to witness all his talents it in one sitting. He transformed from an innocent virgin, to a hardened, pissed off ex-pat learning he’ll serve do life in prison…for a robbery. When he looked dejectedly at his lawyer and asked “Life? f*ck he talkin’ bout life’?” we were ALL ready to throw a chair at that judge.

3) WHEN RAHEEM DIES IN “DO THE RIGHT THING”

First of all, this scene had ALL the drama. Tears, anger, AND it was Brooklyn hot. I dare say, its the best ending to a Spike Lee movie ever. Malcolm X aside, the only critique I have ever had of his movies are the endings, but he nails it with this one. We all think when the police show up, its going to be bad news (shout out to “Get Out”) but we were not ready for the biggest Black person in the movie to get choked out (#message #ripericgarner). Not to mention, this is the second movie on this list where the main character gets mad enough to throw the first thing they can get their hands on.

2) WHEN HALLE BERRY SLAPS THE SH*T OUT OF EDDIE MURPHY IN THE “BOOMERANG” KITCHEN

This wasn’t a selfish slap, this slap was for every woman who was “SICK AND TIRED of men using love like its some disease, you just catch!” The best part is he didn’t see it coming. He thought the excuses , the nice crib, and charm would work again! She just wasn’t having it it. Boomerang turns 25 years old this year, but the hands Marcus Graham caught are timeless. #slapheardroundtheworld

1) WHEN RICKY FROM “BOYZ IN THE HOOD” DOESN’T JUKE LEFT AND RIGHT IN THAT ALLEY

We all saw the tape he showed the recruiter from USC. Ricky was one of the top high school running backs in the
country. On film, he’s dodging and cutting through everybody when he carried the ball for Washington High, yet
he chose to run straight ahead in that alley, why? Every time we watch this scene, we pray silently that he swerves right or left. Sadly, we knew as soon as him and Trey split up, and the movie went in slow motion, things wouldn’t end well. You can’t have drama without slow-motion.