Two nights ago, Dad and I went to see Cadillac Records. Many of the images and ideas from the movie continue to play in my head. The emotional arc of the movie was the rise and subsiding of Muddy Waters, famous Blues man from the 1950's. He began as a sharecropper and ended up in Chicago. The character played by Adrian Brody essentially builds a record label with Muddy Waters' music as the foundation. It's an ensemble cast full of amazing acting and singing.
Yet the images that echo are of violence. Police brutality when one of the musicians, drunk, forgets that he is a black man in the early 1960's and not the rock star his fans adore. Casual shootings. Threats of violence. Beatings. Tattered emotions rubbed to the point of agony by life's edges. A reminder that even though we now will have an African-American (truly!) in the White House, within my father's lifetime, it was a revelation and a revolution for a black male to be treated as a man.