By Imani Ford
As he picks up a blunt and takes a long drag, Oscar turns to his girlfriend Sophina and says, “I want you and Ti-Ti forever.” Twenty-two year old Oscar Grant, the focus of the critically acclaimed Sundance winner “Fruitvale Station,” is not perfect—far from it. In one of the first scenes, for instance, we find out—even as he professes his love for both Sophina and his daughter Ti-Ti—that Oscar has cheated.
This initially negative portrayal of Oscar, played by Michael B. Jordan, may alarm certain audience members; within the first 10 minutes, the film begins to paint another stereotypical caricature of African-American communities. But while certain characteristics of Oscar fit the stereotype, far more defy common expectations—allowing viewers to see him as a real person and to realize that the injustice he eventually suffers could happen to anyone. It’s just one of the many ways in which this brilliant film excels. Continue reading