I saw myself in, Troy. Crooklyn at times was hard to watch because she reminded me so much of myself when I was growing up with a rowdy brother and in a neighborhood full of rowdy boys. She was the outlier and she did a pretty good job of navigating that mostly male space, but still stood out. Growing up I used to wear my hair like hers, in tight braids (with no hair extensions), and this made me look a little more androgynous then I would have liked. It was hard being the small, not yet developed into a woman’s body, girl with short hair in braids. You do not exactly fit into societal standards of beauty– and you’re often told that by your peers (mostly the annoying boys you live with.) Troy compensated for this by being good at sports and quick to combat insults with even wittier comebacks. I know this act and it is a tiring one to perform sometimes.
Prior to this film I used to not like to think about my appearance during the ages of 9-12. It was a rough time for me, in my opinion. But actually watching Crooklyn changed that for me. Watching someone on screen that reminded me so much of myself, and seeing the beauty in a girl like Troy, made me see the beauty in my childhood self. I know this sounds incredibly cheesy and kind of annoying, but it is true. Crooklyn helped me actually become more accepting of my Blackness, and find beauty in myself. Growing up I always wished my hair wasn’t in tight, short braids, or that I had bigger breasts, or I wasn’t so dark. Watching Troy on screen, however, made me realize that there is beauty in being that little Black girl. The one that is pretty but does not fit into the mold of being “pretty” by American television standards (light skinned, long straight-ish hair, physically bigger.) I think it is awesome that Spike Lee chose an actress that is not your typical American TV star, because those girls exist too and they’re magical in their own way.
Before I entered into the Friendly Reading Room for Sing Our Rivers Red (SORR), I did not anticipate the earrings and the letters that were written in honor of the murdered and missing Indigenous women. The physicality and sheer number of each distinct earring created a notable presence for each woman who is no longer there, but there was a symbolic absence in the way that the earrings were collected and displayed. Continue reading “Earrings in SORR and Crooklyn”
Crooklyn continues to strike a chord with me. The neighborhood Troy lives in very much parallels my own Bronx home. I remember the stoop games, the fire hydrant popped open on a hot summer day, the elders at the front of the bodega playing their hundredth game of dominoes.
And I remember when my stepdad died. Continue reading “And I Am Mourning: Crooklyn and the Eulogy I Never Gave You”
I wanted to take a minute to go back and look at the scene where the family fight breaks out. First, this scene was just done so well from the acting, the music, to the chaos. We discussed in class about the soundtrack playing in the background affecting the way the audience read the scene. Continue reading “Crooklyn: The Boiling Point and Music”
Crooklyn (1994) was the only film throughout the semester where we watched the movie with subtitles. I thought that it was distinct because of the unassuming powers of text, especially when its presence was not something that was intended for the audience to consume. Continue reading “Text as a Source of Deafness”
In the opening sequence of Crooklyn, we discussed in class how the kids are the people who “make the world go round”. In fact, not only are the kids the centerpiece in the film, but they also blend the boundaries of property within the neighborhood. The opening sequence shows kids playing many different games around the block; they utilize all the resources they have in the streets– light poles, stairs, the ground etc. The open and public spaces occupied by kids create a sense of boundlessness. No stairs belong to anyone, no street or block is owned by any one person. The neighborhood is owned by the community, and the block is owned by the kids who reside there. Continue reading “Owning the Block”
About half of our blog watched the movie on Friday night in Professor Parham’s office (I realized a few hours after the movie that everyone there is in this blog group). It was a pretty intimate setting, which turned out to be a very nice thing once we got to the end of the film. It’ll be interesting to compare the experiences of the Friday night viewers and the Sunday night viewers.