This was an evocative tale of love, betrayal, sacrifice and loss.
Blue Story was wrongfully boycotted, while it may have had subtle room for improvements, above anything, it was an incredible, fresh and dynamic new approach to filmmaking and storytelling as a whole. This film, rooted in biblical themes of betrayal, love and sin, highlighted the trauma and suffering that comes with gang culture.
Many of us are watching and criticising this film from a privileged position. The general public often lack sympathy for people involved in gangs, it is always deemed as a choice; Blue Story highlights that gangs can often seem like the only option for people, you can become entangled into gang wars based off a postcode that you can’t change. At the beginning of the film, we see young Timmy’s mum send him to a new school to get away from bad influences, only to send him to a school where he still gets caught up with the wrong people. This highlights the inescapability of this gang culture in disadvantaged areas of the UK.
Embedded in this film are some incredibly thought-provoking and subtle encouragements for people to reject gangs. Those criticising this film and refusing to acknowledge these ploys don’t know how to appreciate great screenwriting. For example, Rapman posed the question: “Man is out here fighting for what? A postcode that you don’t even own?” Here we see the acknowledgement that these people are fighting till the death for places where they don’t own a property or have careers or have any positive effects on the community because they are too caught up in gang wars.
Moreover, Timmy references the success of John Boyega, who made it out of Peckham to become a worldwide sensation. Rapman himself is also a prime example of this kind of excellence, he is utilising his many talents to let communities know that this kind of gang violence is unnecessary and only ever has negative consequences. I encourage you to listen to The Real Blue Story by Rapman, to hear his own personal and inspirational story.
As a viewer, we got to see the loss of potential, loss of life, and relationships. Embedded within this tragedy is a current and fresh perspective of our society. This film made for a great viewing experience, the audience would be laughing together one minute, and the next they were silenced by disbelief and suspense. Sadly, Blue Story was misinterpreted by many and led to an uproar of violent behaviour following a showing in Birmingham. Top Boy, Power and series alike do glorify this kind of lifestyle to an extent. Although it is not their intention, these characters are represented as role models, the values they hold are being adopted by their viewers, and that is an undeniable fact. While it’s true these shows highlight the danger that comes with these lifestyles, that is not always what the viewers focus on. In order to try and reach the internal values that urge young people to join gangs, we should be offering them alternative options and encouraging them to adopt values which go against gangs. For example, the importance of serving your community and using your creative or academic talents to help others and build careers.
The media has enough black males being portrayed as ‘violent thugs’, what we never get to see is the many successful young black teachers, lawyers, doctors, and so forth. Mainstream media should be highlighting the ways that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds can achieve their career goals. It is hard to imagine yourself in a certain role when you don’t ever see yourself represented in that role in the media. The mainstream media refuses to tell the many success stories of the people who have made it out of these gang-infested postcodes and have gone on to achieve amazing things. Thereby failing to inform and inspire young people to make a change and deter them from gang culture.
I encourage everyone to go and see this film and support Blue Story so that it continues to break box office records and continues to inspire young creatives.
Image Credit: Movie Waffle