Rolling out recently had the privilege of screening We the Party, Mario Van Peeble’s coming-of-age flick featuring Snoop Dogg, YG, The New Boyz and The Rejectz. This movie explores the lives of five teenagers trying to successfully navigate their way through high school. While the times may have changed the issues remain the same — sex, money, girls, cars and college.
When we sat down with Mario Van Peebles and his sons, Mandela and Makaylo, to discuss the movie, we were pleased to discover that they are just as close-knit as the family they portray in the film. The conversation started with Mario asking if I had seen the movie because he didn’t want to ruin it for me. After I assured him that I had, he proceeded to talk about exactly how the movie came about.
So, would you let your parents tag along to the club with you?
No … that’s what I thought.
Fortunately, Mandela and Makaylo did, which is how We the Party was born. As Mario describes it, he was “incog-negro in skinny jeans and a little shirt” posted in the back while his sons were on the dance floor getting their Spongebob on. “I started going out with them and taking notes, writing stuff down and listening to it… I thought, what would it look like in 2012 if you could make that smart coming-of-age movie now and make it multicultural,” said Mario.
As the conversation continued, we began to delve deeper into some of the current social issues and stereotypes that plague young minorities today. One of the characters in the film is a young black man who walks around school with a black hoodie on to hide his battered face.
“You can tell he’s been misjudged his whole life, he just exudes this negative energy … and you don’t know why,” says Mandela. “Without my character and his character interfacing, you don’t know what kind of tragic things could have happened.”
“It’s cool that Jackie Robinson got to play baseball, but it didn’t mean that baseball was integrated. It’s brilliant that we have a beautiful, smart black family in the White House but that doesn’t mean America is post racial. We’re seeing the evidence of that [with the Trayvon Martin case,” said Mario.
Check out the official trailer below: