Left to Right – Civil Rights Attorney John Burris, Oakland to Yale Graduate Akintunde Ahmad and Producer Ephraim Walker. Photo by Brandon Aninipot.
Oakland native and producer Ephraim Walker described the “The First Purge,” the latest of the Purge film series, as “the Black Purge” at a community screening at the New Parkway Theatre. The recent release was led by director Gerard McMurray, and consisted of nearly an all-Black cast.
The event was organized by Blackout for Human Rights, a collective comprised of Lawyers, Filmmakers, and Community leaders including Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan, Charles King, Nate Parker, Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover, Ava DuVernay, Jesse Williams, John Burris, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosa Clemente, Pastor Michael McBride, Shaka King, Scott Budnick, and David Oyelowo.
After the screening, Walker moderated a panel discussion with attorney John Burris, actors Christian Robinson, who played “Capital A”, and Rotimi Paul,who played “Skeletor” in the film, and Pastor Michael McBride.
Burris expressed his appreciation for the film saying, “I was taken back to the 70s. It reminded me of the War on Drugs epidemic where Nixon practically labeled Black and Brown bodies as criminals.” He said he also appreciated seeing a Black hero in the film, noting it was reminiscent of how the Black Panther Party would police their own communities.
Without giving away too much of the film, it is important to note that the movie made many references to Trump’s presidency, the infiltration of drugs and guns into poorer communities, and the lack of economic opportunity for people of color.
“One can argue that the Purge hasn’t stopped since indigenous people were ran off of this land,” said McBride.