There are very few things that are more exciting to me to see on screen than spotting a familiar area, like a prominent street of Lowell’s Little Cambodia as the opening backdrop in 2010’s The Fighter. If marketing hadn’t felt like an eternity, seeing the destruction of the Financial District would even make Free Guy somewhat enticing. In Thato Rantao Mwosa’s Memoirs of a Black Girl, the bright colorways of Roxbury murals and the interior of beloved local Frugal Bookstore was not only compelling because of this fact, but that this part of Boston is very rarely explored in Hollywood.
Mwosa, who teaches at Emerson and Brookline, draws her own experience with students’ lives in her first full-length narrative. The movie takes place in Boston’s only vocational high school, Madison Park Technical located right off Malcolm X Boulevard. At the center is Aisha (Khai Tyler), a bright student who is caught in the throes of drama when she is forced to tell a faculty member about her classmates smoking weed in a bathroom stall. Academically driven, Aisha doesn’t want to get mixed into any sort of trouble but finds herself getting deeper in it.
Being a snitch is not specific to high-school level theatrics, but when you are surrounded by the same peers day in and day out, it can feel like a whole make-it-or-break-it nickname. Aisha’s world, demarcated by her surroundings at Nubian Square and her close friends with their own personal lives, is as small as high school may be, even though some of the biggest decisions can derive from it. A modest story in the big little city of Boston, Memoirs of a Black Girl shows that there are so many types of stories to tell, just around the block.
Memoirs of a Black Girl
dir. Thato Rantao Mwosa
Now available on VOD!
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