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Karen Malina White
This series took place in an apartment building, numbered 227. The cast would frequently be found sitting outside on a large set of stone stairs, in some discussion that would unfold into the weekly plot line.
Political satire about an underground militant group that kidnaps African-Americans who have sold out their race. The story follows as the group led Curtis-Hall and Rhames kidnaps an advertising executive (La Salle) who has been providing advertising programs that belittles blacks and women. One advertisement features Spike Lee endorsing Gospelpak Fried Chicken which comes in a bucket with the Confederate flag draped all over it. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
In Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin In The Sun", the character of Beneatha describes so-called "assimilationist negroes", or black men that have immersed themselves in a dominant culture while neglecting their African roots. Suffice it to say that this description can be applied to Bruford Jamison, the lead character of David Clark Johnson's "DROP Squad". Here's a movie that takes a provocative, timely idea, and completely buries it with muddled execution.
Eriq La Salle ("ER"'s Dr. Benton) plays Bruford, an advertising executive determined to ascend up the corporate ladder. This involves demeaning advertising campaigns, including a satirical television spot for fried chicken that boasts a gospel choir, napkins with bible verses, and Spike Lee, who's also executive producer of this film. Along the way, he manages to ignore his cousin, Flip, who's out of work and incessantly asking for a favor from his favorite cousin.
These factors prompt Bruford's sister Lenora to call on the DROP (Deprogramming and Restoration of Pride) Squad, a group of militant brothers who work to bring "fallen" blacks back down to earth. The squad, whose past targets include a politician and man of the cloth, kidnap Bruford, strap him to a chair, and proceed to torture him for several weeks.
And it's at this point that the film's message is lost completely. There were moments that had punch; in particular, the friction between Bruford and squad member Garvey, played with ferocity by Ving Rhames. There's one brutal exchange when Bruford chides Garvey for not being able to make it in the real world that nearly rises above everything else onscreen. But all the while, as Bruford is being verbally and physically assaulted by the squad, it's disturbing that his civil rights never come into the equation. And since when did this kind of violence ever become productive, given their cause?
All in all, a movie with a topic more deserving of stronger execution.
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