Weeks ago when we only had the trailer for Us to whet our appetites, an email went out to the Black press on both coasts — in Los Angeles and New York — inviting them to see one of the most anticipated films of the year.
The hashtag used to promote the screenings? #UsFirst. As if you needed any other clues that producer, screenwriter and director Jordan Peele wanted Black audiences to see and review Us first, well then you didn’t need to look any further.
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Peele told ESSENCE that it was important to him because “I make these [Black horror] movies because I want to push the boundaries of representation in my favorite genre. If a version went out there into the world without Black people seeing it first, I would’ve had a problem. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Although the film also premiered at South by Southwest the same weekend, Peele said it was important to invite the Black press to screen the film first “to just address some of the lack of representation in the press room.”
It’s a topic that’s been getting tons of traction since Black journalists began asking Black celebrities what their responsibility was to correct the blocking of Black media outlets in press rooms.
Now that all audiences will get to take in Us this weekend, which centers on a Black family trekking to their familial beach town for a vacation only to discover their frightening doppelgängers are there to stir up some sh-t, Peele wants to make it clear: he’s not making racial commentary with this film unlike his breakout Get Out.
“[It’s a] clear commentary for me about this country, the privilege of this country, the fear of the outsider, and the fact that our suppressed demons look like us,” Peele explained. “We are our own worst enemy as a nation.”