Beloved is a film I touched briefly on here before. Set not long after the emancipation of enslaved Africans in America in the midwest, a Black woman named Sethe grapples with her enslaved past when she is reunited with the child she bore and slain for fear of being recaptured by her slave master after escaping.
Recently watching this for the first time, my visceral and intellectual response was pleasantly mixed and complicated. It was such an uncomfortable movie to experience and at the same time, empathetic and endearing. Some re-affirming academic work as been done on the film by Ellen C. Scott who titled her work, “The Horrors Of Remembrance: The Altered Visual Aesthetic of Horror in Jonathan Demme’s Beloved,” Jonathan Demme being the director, Toni Morrison, the author and source of content and inspiration.
What is profound to note is the film’s intimate relationship to traditional horror/the Southern gothic as well as it presents itself as removed from that tradition but broadening our concepts of horror as well as how it positions the historical horror of slavery within the film. Beloved takes us on one journey of the Black American experience of slavery through the body of a Black female protagonist.

In Scott’s words, “Beloved disrupts horror’s narrative impetus, visual regime, and phenomenological economy to create a different iconography of fear, one that exceeds spookiness and thrill and sheds light on the representation of cinematic horror’s social, historical and cinematic repressed.”

Sigh. Gentrification. A topic so multi-layered that its core is an accurate representative of deep space. It is defined as “the buying and renovation of houses and stores in deteriorated urban neighborhoods by upper- or middle-income families or individuals, raising property values but often displacing low-income families and small businesses.” Every observation outlined by some of my favorite television series such as Shameless and Insecure is like a stroll through almost any U.S. major city, including my own. My early non-profit work was to provide the resources needed to build a local business for the neighborhood lifers, but instant wealth swarmed into their spaces and won over too quickly to create that foundation. Turning Kensington/Fishtown into “New Fish” if you’re in Philly like me and the stakes seem even higher in New York, the historical epicenter of artistic prosperity where Brooklyn tenets are forced to take landlords to court who are systemically striking on duties to receive renters willing to pay the upwards of $3100 a month.

The above, ranty boiling point is a peek into a hot energy that is calculated, that houses a negativity that is desperate for a safe house. The anger, my anger at the insistence of these practices that are fundamentally inequitable and leave many who began with less opportunities, resources, and the longer ladder to climb for stability treated as less than and then displaced makes my head spin. Like many others I’m certain, a release for what can’t be solved with immediacy is necessary.