I know you guys have heard about, and at this point, probably watched the short film that has been sweeping across trending social hashtags. The film, “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” is a Youtube 29 minute short film directed by Ari Aster and released in 2011.
I’m not really sure why this film started garnering so much attention just seemingly out of the blue, but I’m glad it did, as it generated some really great conversation.
The film speaks to the very uncomfortable topic of sexual abuse, even more uncomfortable in the black family, especially when it occurs between two relatives. Since the cast was 100% black, it also brought up the common saying in the black family regarding abuse, “What happens in the house, stays in the house,” maybe to preserve outside reputation or out of disbelief and ignorance.
I saw some people on Twitter in an uproar after viewing the film saying that it shouldn’t have been a black cast because the incest and abuse occurring in the film is more common to white families, but I feel like this is a very uninformed thought. It’s very possible that the reason they believe this is because abuse in black families is so unspoken, so it has led them to believe that it does not happen. It must be remembered that just because it is not addressed doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
I feel like the belief that sexual abuse between family members is so uncommon in black families is the reason the film was made and garnered so much attention- it clearly triggered people for a reason.
This film was much needed and although the reason behind its sudden success is unknown, the film is still very timely and necessary to bring about conversation on a heavier subject.
Some things are just a bit more deep than Nicki vs. Remy
I had a friend tell me that she aspired to make short films that had people talking non-stop about it and made people go “Wow,” just after a few minutes of viewing. Honestly, I didn’t really understand what she meant, because I’m so used feature films, but after watching “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons,” I know exactly what she meant.
Watch the film and tell me what you think below!