Kerry Washington's American Son is a Riveting Tale About Black, White & Blue

Kerry Washington's American Son is a Riveting Tale About Black, White & Blue
Kerry Washington was in Chicago last night to discuss her new film, American Son.
There’s been an incident and Kendra is a mother on the edge; her son Jamal is missing, and no one, it seems, can hear her screams.
Kendra, trapped in a Miami-area police department waiting room, desperately clings to her phone, texting and calling Jamal nonstop.
But there’s no response.

Enter the young white officer who refuses—or is not allowed—to help. When Kendra finally shames the officer into doing his job, she finds the officer is blinded by stereotypes, and is unable to see her son clearly. (Surely Jamal MUST have a police record; gold teeth and/or a street name, the officer insists.)

But not Kendra’s Jamal. Jamal is an 18-year-old with a plan; he attends an elite prep school, plays sports, loves classic literature, speaks the Queen’s English, and is nothing short of a genius. Jamal, one of a few Black kids in his school, also carries the immense burden of being the Face of the Race to his non-black peers.

Still, Jamal is missing–but his car has been found. “There’s been an incident,” is all the police officer offers.

Kendra only gets some answers about her missing son when her strapping white husband, an FBI agent, enters the room.
From there, American Son veers into the painful layers of a broken interracial marriage, a biracial son mired in an identity crisis, and the randomness of violence that makes Kendra’s eyes snap open in the middle of the night.
American Son key art Netflix

American Son key art Netflix

The missing Jamal is the biggest presence in the room, although we never see him.
By the film’s shocking end, Jamal’s confident, swaggering FBI father is a broken man, “I can’t breathe,” he exclaims.
And I couldn’t either.

American Son is a brilliant, character-driven film that boldly explores the topic of race from all sides and challenges the viewer to check his/her own biases.

American Son is also a brutal, shocking, white-knuckled emotional ride that is not for the faint of heart. Hopefully, this film will ignite an honest conversation about love, loss and race that we should all have.

“I want us to ask ourselves what did I learn about myself?,” the talented Kerry Washington says. “Where am I carrying prejudice that I’d like to examine?”

American Son  streams on Netflix on November 1; watch it with your family.
Zondra Hughes is creator and Chief Digital Strategist for Six Brown Chicks media. Follow SBC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @SixBrownChicks.
Zondra Hughes

Zondra Hughes

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