Seen Cooley High, Cried when Cochese Died...

Lauryn Hill never lied!
It’s been over 25 years since I saw Cooley High for the first time, and to this day, I still get a bit emotional when Damon lands the punch that ends Cochese’s life. It’s just one of those moments in Black cinema that will last forever. After a story that capsulated a great period of time, it was hard to not imagine Cochese as someone from your hood, I know I did. I knew that after he accepted that scholarship to Gambling University, he was going on to play in the ABA and then NBA, before becoming a sportscaster for the Nets. A kid can dream can’t he? However, Cochese’s dreams were snuffed out by a hater, a story all too familiar to those who grew up dreaming of escaping the clutches of the hood through a jump shot, a hot 16 or a quarter ki. That’s why we cried when Cochese died, we identified with his quest and part of us died with him.

Cooley High isn’t the only movie that gets to me and I’m sure it isn’t the only movie to get to you, so I’ve compiled a short list of movies and moments that have caused me to drop a tear or two and have a good, manly cry:

·         I had no idea who Laurence Fishburne was in 1983, but I knew Jamaal Wilkes or Keith, as he was still named at the time. Before he was filling the lane for Magic Johnson, he was starring as “Cornbread” in the 1975 classic Cornbread, Earl and Me, another aspiring ballplayer on his way out of the ghetto. However, a robbery, rainy day and mistaken identity, shattered that dream for Cornbread, Earl and Wilford (Fishburne). “They killed Cornbread!” was the cry after the young man was shot by police as he ran down the street with his basketball in one hand and soda pop in the other. “They killed Cornbread”, I cried to myself…

·        Pick a Denzel film. Denzel has had some real tearjerkers; From John Q, Remember the Titans, The Hurricane, The Great Debaters, even Man of Fire, all the way back to Glory, Denzel’s performances have pulled tears out of more than my eyes through the years. I know the women watch for another reason, but this man is excellent as bringing characters to life and making you believe you know him.



       The Color Purple is full of emotional moments; moments to make you angry, make you laugh, make you cry, make you hurt, but when Shug Avery bust through the doors of her Daddy’s church sanging “God is Trying to Tell You Something”, most people lose their minds. The movie, that scene specifically, was one of my grandmother’s favorites, so it has a special place in my heart.

·        I was 12-years old when my mother dropped me and my crew off at the theater to see Boyz N the Hood. Little did I know that a little over two hours later, I’d be frontin’ like I wasn’t crying after Ricky got shot. The silence in the theater rang louder than the shots that cut Ricky’s life short, followed by gasps, sobs and a few screams at the screen. No one watching that night anticipated Ricky being killed, Dough Boy yeah, but Ricky? Nah. Even worse than his best friend Tre witnessing his murder, was the fact that he had a son and qualifying SAT scores waiting at home for him, but he was caught in the crosshairs of South Central’s war against itself and John Singleton sacrificed him to bring clarity to how real it was on those streets.

That’s what great movies do; they draw us in, give us characters and stories to sympathize with and wrap our emotions around, before completely tearing us apart. I know a couple of you were in the theater that night Ricky died and have fallen victim to Denzel on more than one occasion and have lost your minds watching a few other movies, what are they?

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