Remember the classic Scene in "Boys in Da Hood" where Jason "Furious" Styles Jr. (Lawrence Fishburn) brought Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Rickey (Morris Chesnut) to an empty lot and explained to them the concept of gentrification and how crack ended up in urban neighborhoods? Fast forward 25 years later, John Singleton's series "Snowfall" breaks down the origin of crack cocaine and its introduction to the hood.
FX along with Singleton and the main cast have been touring the country screening the project and holding conversations about the series and the importance of the story. FX held a screening at The Schomburg Center in New York city and during the post screening conversation, Singleton says, "This is a story that's never been told before. With this show, yes we're here to entertain, but people are emotionally affected by this, especially the ones who have lived it".
The series is structured around three storylines that follows Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), a young street pharmacist hustling to move he and his mother out of the hood, Carter Hudson (Teddy McDonald), a CIA Operative heading an underground operation to fund the Nicaraguan Contras, and Gustavo "El Oso" Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a Mexican wrestler caught in the cross fire of a power struggle within a Mexican crime family.
All three storylines show how each man's quest for economic gain and a better quality of life comes at a greater cost as the stakes get higher and higher with each episode and it's apparent that their paths will inevitably intertwine as the series progresses.
Cinematically "Snowfall" is beautifully shot and the story moves along at a moderate pace. However the series has gotten some mixed reviews. During the conversation one audience member questioned Singleton about his marketing tactics. The audience member expressed his distaste for the images used to market the film. He argued that the advertisements perpetuate young black males with guns and crack and he questioned how those images could possibly be conducive to the African American community.
Although the advertisements play into the urban drug dealer stereotype, Singleton explains to the disgruntled audience member that the marketing was strategically geared towards gaining the interests of the millineals. "You have to get them to watch, then you can give them the information." Let's face it, modern day youth have been so overly saturated with violence, it's the most effective method of grabbing their attention.
The problem with many great cinematic works is that the message gets lost. Which all goes back to Furious' line in Boyz in Da Hood when he explains to Tre, Rickey and the other neighborhood youth that the travesty of crack "didn't begin with us", but it can end with us.