American Violet

April 17, 2009
You gotta see "American Violet."

Besides supporting one of the few films released with a Black woman as the lead - it is an amazing story. The lead story Dee is a single mom of four daughters living in le projects in a
 small town in Texas and she is overflowing with some strength, courage and wisdom. 

The film is based on a true story as Regina Kelly was jailed in a drug bust, and being pressured to take a plea deal and get out - which would have left her a convicted felon -unable to vote or get any government assistance. It didnt matter they had no evidence for a case and it only took the word of one unnamed source to get her jailed in the raid. I saw the film a f
ew weeks ago and it really had me again thinking of going to law school. I had no idea more than 90% of cases end in plea deals or how deeply racist and skewed the drug laws were. The producer and the director broke it down how DAs were given bonuses and money for the more dr
ug convictions they could get. 

Xhibit plays Dee's deadbeat ex-boyfriend and he did a great job. I interviewed him a few weeks ago and he is HILARIOUS and really doesn't hold back, a lot of that left on the cutting roo
m floor. Alfre Woodard plays Dee's mom and she is such a gem. Of course when she said "rising above" during an answer, I had to mention to her I loved her in "Beauty Shop," to which I could hear the smile in her voice as she said she really enjoyed the project. It was humbling to see none of us can ever get too big for compliments - especially on your craft. Loved her thoughts on love too.

I had the chance to speak with Regina Kelly and her poise and strength wraps you like a hug. Its easy to look back and see how it all worked out, but she stepped out and took on a racist county having no idea how things would turn out. Newcomer Nicole Beharie is the lead in the film and she is captivating. It was like talking to a cousin, as she discussed when she once lived in
 Orangeburg, SC where both of my parents went to undergrad.

The movie closes on an interesting note, reminding you that there is definitely more work that needs to be done - and one person really can make a difference, even those society often overlooks.


  1. I blogged about this a few weeks ago when I saw and I totally agree. This is a great film and is a must-see for everyone. Even better than you think it is.

  1. Southern Girl said...:

    I'm from Texas and I remember this one and have friends who are from Hearne, the town where this has happened. Before much worse happened in a small town in West Texas called Tulia, where again eople were wrongly accused and jailed, so this movie is close to my heart. I saw it today and it was excellent, Nicole Beharie has a bright future ahead of her.