By Shawna Mizelle, NewsVision and BreAnna Bell, Howard University News Service
After premiering his new film, ‘Us,’ in New York earlier that same day, Jordan Peele, along with lead cast members Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke brought the film to Howard University for an exclusive screening and panel for students.
Howard was a poignant stop for the screening, as the school was represented throughout the majority of the film. Students immediately overtook Cramton theater in droves to catch a glimpse of the movie Rotten Tomatoes has rated a 100 percent.
“When I spoke about Gabe’s character with Winston, we knew we wanted an HBCU to be represented,” Peele explained. “There wasn’t a deeper layer of meaning to picking Howard, but Howard is iconic. It’s dope.”
Peele’s movie, ‘Us’ depicts the story of Adelaide Wilson/Red (Lupita Nyong’o), a young mother of two and her husband Gabe Wilson/Abraham (Winston Duke) as they take their family to their summer home for a vacation. When the family finds itself surrounded by a second family who coincidentally looks exactly like them. For Nyong’o, her performance as Adelaide Wilson/Red in the film makes this the stars’ first lead role in a major film.
“I always wanted to do stuff that mattered, stuff that challenged me, stuff that made me grow. That’s why you’ve seen me in the movies I’ve chosen thus far,” Nyong’o stated. “I feel like the stars aligned for my first lead role to be with Jordan Peele because I watched his film ‘Get Out’ five times in one month and I was taken by his precision, his vision, and his inner compass that helped him tell that story.”
While the movie dances with the idea of a WEB Dubois-like double consciousness as the family struggles with the other versions of themselves, the film’s director made it explicitly clear in his remarks that the movie isn’t about race, specifically, but about the mentality that divides us.
“This movie is about duality and the idea that however, we define the word us– for there to be an us, there has to be a, them,” Peele said. “The way we think about them, it tends to be less than the way we think about us and this is why these cases of duality, I consider a social demon. It’s something that if we don’t address, it will lead us toward committing atrocity together.”
Though it’s left up to interpretation as to who the ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ are in the film, the Oscar award-winning director hints that there could be some deeper meaning pointed at the United States gleaned from the film after mentioning his copious use of American imagery in the film.