The days of associating Kim Wayans with over the top sketch comedy characters are soon to be long gone. In the upcoming film “Pariah” Wayans plays the religiously devout mother of a teenage girl struggling with her sexuality. The film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival is directed Dee Rees and executive produced by Spike Lee.
“Pariah” tells the story of Alike, (played by Adepero Oduye) a 17-year-old high school student who is discovering her identity as a lesbian. As Alike becomes more comfortable with sexuality, her mother becomes increasingly distraught. The relationship is further complicated by tension in her parents marriage.
Though at times the film can be a bit heavy-handed, it feels surprisingly authentic. The world of teenage angst in the Brooklyn high-school is offset by the innocence and genuine confusion of the adolescent characters. The dialogue can be jarring, but feels as truthful as overhearing the conversation of students on the subway headed home after school. Amazing performances by the cast are complimented by beautiful cinematography from Bradford Young . “Pariah” is strong in story and addresses the often too hushed reality of homosexuality in Black families.
We spoke with Kim Wayans to find out how she hopes the movie will influence audiences to address homosexuality in the Black community.
Watch her interview below:
“Pariah” opens in select theaters on December 28th.