Gentrification has become the new way of life in many major cities. What was once a thriving neighborhood of African American families has now fallen into the hands of corporations and investors. These properties get renovated and sold for hefty prices. In the wake of all this, it often displaces the original owners who are usually aging and on fixed income. They have no way to pay this astronomical tax bill, and this is where the story begins. Semad and Dawn are urban professionals, and are bougie-ish. They confront a young couple that recently moved into their Englewood neighborhood to teach them the lay of the land. This doesn’t sit well with the new couple, who still have a lot of southside Chicago in them. Let’s just say this is where the game begins.
Urban Home Entertainment presents Black and Privileged featuring a star-studded cast, including Brian White, Dawn Halfkenny, Carl Payne and Corey Hendrix. Mark Harris, well known for some of his other films including Black Coffee, Four Seasons and My First Love, gained inspiration for this film from his upbringing in the very same Englewood neighborhood that this movie references. He used his first-hand experience to give detailed insight into the life of the middle-class in a gentrified neighborhood. This film touches on what some would consider a sensitive topic as it navigates the intricacies of the impoverished and the affluent living side-by-side. Lawmakers across the globe are under scrutiny as more and more major cities are being gentrified, and it’s this that makes the movie a must-watch, as it poses realistic insight into current events.
The film is entertaining, with a captivating storyline, but it also offers subtle social commentary on black-on-black crime. Through the characters, Harris raises some intriguing questions as to why black people kill their own. In the film, the characters visibly struggle in deciding whether to pursue revenge and take another black life, or take a step back and spare their own kind. Harris even uses the characters to urge for more unity in black communities. These themes ring true in today’s society, making this film all the more relevant.
Since its inception , Urban Home Entertainment, an African American owned film distribution company, seeks to find voices that are often marginalized by mainstream studios. UHE has sold and distributed more than 300 films across the globe to some of the world’s largest streaming platforms. In addition to having worked with some of the biggest African American entertainers, such as Mo’Nique, Jamie Foxx, and Lil Rel, UHE has also single-handedly become the reliable source that buyers use for urban content, having distributed popular films like Products of the American Ghetto, Streets, and now Black & Privileged. Urban Home Entertainment’s founder and CEO Barrett Dungy says “This film is one of the more refreshing films that I’ve seen in a while. From the actors to the storyline, I loved every minute of it.”
Black & Privileged will be out on Tubi in April of this year.
Watch the trailer here, on YouTube.