Growing the Voices of Our Future
The Westside Gazette Newspaper is honored to feature these editorial contributions made by local students.
On June 14, I watched the movie “Da 5 Bloods.” This movie was produced, directed, and written by Spike Lee. This movie is about four African American vets that battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their deceased squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.
This movie goes in and out of the narrative to provide both flashbacks to the fictional characters’ younger years and glimpses of real historical footage, which correlates into a dense portrayal of racism, imperialism, and patriotism.
“Da 5 Bloods” begins with a historical montage, bombarding the viewer with names and dates connected to the Vietnam war, the protests against it, and the Black Liberation movement.
The vets in the movie mention Donald Trump. He is mentioned because of his lack of service in Vietnam. In the fall of 1968, when Trump was eligible for the draft, when he was 22-years old, a Queens, NY podiatrist named Dr. Larry Braunstein provided “a strong and influential letter” with a diagnosis of bone spurs in his heels, resulting in a medical postponement. The New York Times then found out he rented his office from Trump’s father, Fred C. Trump.
The movie then goes on to tell about “Blacks for Trump”. When the friends discover Paul (Delroy Lindo) voted for “President Fake Bone Spurs,” they jokingly compare him to an African-American supporter who appeared behind Trump at several rallies during the 2016 campaign, holding a “Blacks for Trump” sign.
In the film a radio broadcaster, “Hanoi Hannah” reports on the outbreaks of civil unrest throughout the United States after the April 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who opposed the Vietnam War.
Protest grew throughout April and May in Baltimore, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, and Washington, D.C. “Your government sends 600,000 troops to crush the rebellion,” the radio broadcaster says to the Black GIs. “Your soul sisters and soul brothers are enraged in over 122 American cities.”
The film closes with a clip of Martin Luther King saying a speech at New York’s Riverside Church in which he opposed the Vietnam War and offered a five-point plan for ending it. As the director Spike Lee notes in the film’s closing moments, he says “One year to the day after delivering this speech, Dr. King was assassinated.”
This movie has so many meanings behind it and it shines a light on today’s events and society. I recommend this movie 100% because it also addresses things that happened in history.