Downtown, Los Angeles-The red carpet premiere for Christina Cooper’s independent film, “South Central Love,” was a historic day for the art and culture of Black and ethnic Los Angeles.
At 25, the model, actress and film-maker directed, wrote and stars in her feature film.
Christina, who is of half Asian and Jamaican descent, represents a small number of independent film makers, especially from Los Angeles. She played the role of Miko on Dear White People and has been featured on Forbes 30 under 30, Oprah Magazine and Variety. Her film gained a lot of buzz in Los Angeles, with the Los Angeles Times even when writing a review on the film.
“Reworking the film based on a short she created in 2018 entitled, “Loyalty,” “South Central Love” features many actors from the original film. Following her purpose of helping others, Cooper reached out via Instagram to find aspiring actors to fill necessary spots. Being a growing artist herself, she believes it is her duty to help as many other artists achieve their goals as well.
“If I’m going to try put myself on, I want to bring other people with me; especially us people of color.” Quoting the famous phrase, “if one of us wins, we all win,” Christina told the L.A Sentinel in July.
Having the opportunity to witness Christina’s journey of managing all the necessary components of making a film, and actually completing her goal, was a blessing. Watching the film with the cast and crew was amazing because it truly felt like you were apart of something meaningful and historic.
Having lost her boyfriend to gun violence, Christina was determined to use art and film in particular, to address the issues of gun violence in inner city communities. She stars as Bria alongside her lead character, Davonte (Jamal Henderson).
On the surface, the two characters come from completely different backgrounds, and spark a romance. Through their relationship, they realize they actually have a lot in common, especially not having one of their parents. The friends of Davontae and Bria really give the movie a comedic tone. Throughout the film, you could hear laughter in the theaters.
One of my favorite aspects of the film, is the writing, and drops of wisdom Christina gives through the dialogue of her characters.
The camera angles, drone shots, along with carefully selected b-roll showing prominent South Central sights, gave the movie a familiar feel for L.A natives.
When Davonte’s little sister gets shot over bad decisions of his friend, Davonte almost loses it. You begin to see the changes of a poetic and loving young man, to a more hardened individual, who believes possessing his own firearm would alleviate future problems.
In the end, Davonte is able to move through the tragic lost of his sister with the encouragement of Bria and accomplishes his goals of publishing poetry books.
One of my favorite shots, is the ending scene of Davonte in front of an American Flag.
On his left there is a cop with a gun to his head. To his right, there is a Black man with a gun to his head. It is a sad reminder of the dangers and threats that Black men face in America on a daily. At the hands of police, as well as at the hands of other Black men.
Check out some more photos from the red carpet premiere below.