My Man Freddy

Thomas helped me to better understand the continuity between Do The Right Thing and School Daze. The two films function as an exploration of leadership within the black community. Where DTRT brings Malcolm X and MLK to life, School Daze is a celebration of Frederick Douglass. He is given the most affectionate treatment of any of the great black Americans. He also “shows up” in the movie. He does this through some subtle (and others not-so-subtle) character interactions.

School Daze 1-19


One particular set of interactions links the character Monroe with Frederick Douglass. His character tips the scales away from violence at crucial moments in the film. Take the moments below.School Daze 7-09.png


School Daze 1-09-14.png


When tensions might lead to an intra-racial fight, Monroe interjects. All he says is, “Dap, he did say ‘please.'” For a moment, he is the entire focus of the scene. His words are soon followed by, “Man, shut up, Monroe!” It has the tone and timing of a response with subtext. “Shut up,” here, doesn’t mean “I want you to stop speaking.” It’s more along the lines of “Dammit. Yeah..I know we shouldn’t do this; but did you really need to remind me? ..I was caught up in the moment.”

I’ve experienced this with some of my closest friends. As long as each of us knows we’ll understand the actual message beneath the words, there is a tacit agreement that each of us will take every opportunity to throw humor into the mix when it’s okay.

School Daze 18-22.png

This (above) is the moment the association between Monroe and Frederick Douglass is forged (18:22). Again, there is a subtext-laden pause.

School Daze 1-19-21.png

His participation in this step, highlighted in Tongues Untied, may frustrate my reading (1:19:21). Then again, it might not. He is clearly out of step with the rest of the group. And not only at this moment. He often looks to the rest of the group to see the steps. It appears that he joined the group after the choreography was complete. At the very least, I give Lee too much credit to think that the missteps on Monroe’s part are accidental. Is this all wishful thinking? Tell it to me straight, doc.


Author: Heru Craig

オレは哲学者王になる男だ! I am the man who will become philosopher king! In every field, there is a champion who stands at the top. The title of the world's greatest is one that can only be awarded by the collective will of ordinary people. My mission in life is to show the world that all people are worthy of being called philosophers. In the process, I will prove myself to be my generation's greatest philosopher--and, one day, the world's greatest. All of my work will remain free to access online. I hope that I can earn your support ( as I develop my abilities.

One thought on “My Man Freddy”

  1. Hello my friend. I enjoy your post entry because I always wondered what role Monroe plays in the movie. I think Monroe participating in the step show does not complicate your reading of him, but rather enhances it. Monroe seems to be the voice of reason when inter racial violence will occur. He also is very aware of the politics surrounding being black at an HBCU. However, Monroe is still human and still partakes in activities he finds harmless. Yes, him being out of sink with the rest of Da Fellas during the step show is clear when you read the scene closely. Yet, Monroe does the movements with only a slight delay and says or possibly mouths the words because he wants to be a part of this male group. Monroe does not want his masculinity discredited by his closest peers. This may be a form of peer pressure. But then when the fight breaks out, Monroe turns into a peace keeper again. So yes, Monroe has opportunities to inspire to be Frederick Douglass and has his moments where he reminds us he is human, bound to make some errors.


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