At the other end of this link is an article I could not have written. Because I’m not black. The best I could ever do would be to try to mentally put myself in another’s place, try to conceive of how such a person would see the world, use empathy for creative purpose. That’s how I create, I hope, believable minority characters in my fiction. But it’s not the same thing as one who speaks from firsthand, personal experience. I can *imagine* how Candyman is validating to a Horror fan of color, but I can never feel such validation personally.
From the article: “That’s why Candyman was, and remains, a revelation for an entire community. Even if we didn’t grow up in Cabrini Green or a place that looked like Cabrini Green, we recognized its inhabitants. Candyman has race at its core, but it doesn’t go out of its way to highlight the majority Black cast. Candyman succeeds because it treats its setting and its characters as standard rather than ‘other.’ Just like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and any other franchise before it, Candyman focuses on relatable people and drops us into their day-to-day. Despite its narrative weirdness, that meant the boogeyman’s victims were also Black and brown. But the film spends enough time with them for their deaths to matter. What mattered the most to the kids I knew then and the adults I know today was seeing legitimate fear on the faces of people who looked like us…Candyman acknowledged our existence either as victims or bystanders. As kids in 1992 or as adults in 2021, that’s thrilling and terrifying all at once…When no one else saw us, the man with the hook and the bees in his mouth did.”
That’s why it matters.
Man, I love that last sentence. When no one else saw us, the man with the hook and the bees in his mouth did. Yes, he sees. And he’s listening.