How Mike Brown’s Death Inspired Nate Parker’s Latest Film
On Monday night, emotions reached a boiling point in Ferguson, Missouri after a grand jury decided no formal charges would be filed against Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager, Mike Brown.
While thousands have assembled in the streets across the United States to protest Brown’s death, actor Nate Parker is hoping his short film, #AmeriCAN, leads to a national discourse on the dehumanization of black men in America. “We haven’t been recognized as full, rights carrying, human citizens of the United States of America,” the actor tells us in an exclusive interview.
Parker was in Ferguson during the first round of protests earlier this year where he says an unsettling scene partially inspired the project, that he also wrote.
“There was a street and on one side of the street you heard people saying, ‘Justice for Mike Brown. Justice for Mike Brown. Black lives matter. All lives matter.’ And on the other side yu heard, ‘Support our police force. Support our police.’ And I’m thinking, they’re not even on the same page. They’re completely missing each other.”
#AmeriCAN tells the story of a white police officer that opens fire on a teenager wearing a hoodie. Without revealing the film’s twist, that officer’s actions turn out to be fateful.
Parker is adamant the lives of black men in America are not valued in the same manner as of others, but admits that ignorance is not limited to a specific community. “If I go into some of the most despondent neighborhoods, I’m less safe than a white person walking through with their windbreakers on.”
#AmeriCAN is streaming in its entirety on YouTube. Up next for Parker, The Birth of a nation, the biopic of Nat Turner, a slave turned revolutionary.