As the mother of a young son, I am keenly aware of the media’s portrayal of young Black men. While I try to instill in him the basic tenants of respect, honesty, and kindness for all humankind, none of those things will protect him from an overzealous cop or an armed citizen who claims to be “afraid” of my son.

A new documentary by filmmaker Mya B. seeks to answer the question so many Black parents ask, “Why is America afraid of Black men and boys.”

In the film Afraid of the Dark, Maya B. examines the stereotypes about Black men and attempts to dispel them.

Afraid_of_dark_movie_poster_Mya_The film’s website gives more details about the documentary:

“Why is everyone so afraid of black men?”  In her new documentary, “Afraid of Dark”, filmmaker Mya B. attempts to answer this question.  In examining two of the most prevalent stereotypes about the black man as the brute and as the Mandingo we are led on a journey to understanding how the fear of these stereotypes have contributed to the rates of violence and incarceration against black men.  We see how racism uses black on black crime and other unfortunate occurrences in black communities as justification for attacks on black males by police and citizen vigilantes alike.

The documentary challenges these stereotypes, and their resulting worldview, through candid interviews of black men -who span the spectrum of age and background – to illustrate through their own words and personal reflections the difference between how society perceives black men and how they define themselves.

Mya B. also profiles three generations of black men in her family that offered alternative archetypes of what black men can be and are in this society.

The film ultimately shows us that black men are struggling to find love and meaningful identity in a world that mutes their individual stories and colors them all with one brush; and that the way towards healing means facing this dilemma head on, looking deep into it, and using our understanding and our love to transform the image and likeness we perceive of black men.

Afraid of the Dark features commentary from Dr. Cornel West, Malik Yoba, Kevin Powell, Vondie Curtis Hall, Lou Myers, Dr. Herukhuti, Sadat X, and several others.

Visit the Afraid of the Dark website to learn more about the film.

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