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Juice: Earned or Taken

Updated on September 27, 2013

A Movie review

Juice; Earned or Taken?

The film, Juice is about the lives of four Harlem young men Q, Steel, Bishop, and Raheem. These young high school boys like to spend their time hanging out, skipping school, and looking for a way to gain respect or juice as they call it. Q wants to earn respect by becoming a DJ but Bishop, the main bad boy, has something else in mind. One day while the boys were skipping school they find out that one of their friends was killed in a shootout. Bishop gets riled up and starts in on his friends telling them they have no juice. Bishop has a plan for them to earn some. His plan turns deadly and everything and everyone falls apart.

Bishop wants to rob a grocery store and wants his crew to help him. When they do Bishop shoots the clerk. After everyone gets away they run into an alley where Bishop and Raheem fight for the gun. In the struggle Bishop kills Raheem. Q and Steel are afraid but now Bishop thinks he’s a bad ass. They go back to a club where Q is having a show to get an allyby. Bishop kills a local gang member named Radmes who had always harassed him. Bishop now wants to get rid of his friends since they are the only ones who know what he has done. Now Q and Steel have to play the game of who is Bishop’s favorite. In the end Q pushes Bishop off a rooftop where he hangs onto his hand then Bishop lets go and falls to his death. In the end no one really earns any juice.

This film portrays African Americans as dangerous and wanting only power and respect. It does not look at the ways of getting it in the right way. Why does Q want to earn juice by becoming a DJ, why not a doctor or a businessman? The film makes African Americans seem ghetto, low class, and reckless. It makes young African American men look like they have no leadership skills and that they are followers. Q and Raheem did not have to do as Bishop told them to they could have found another way besides giving in to his threats. If anything the two had the power to take him out if they wanted to. This film depicts that young African American men only seek violence and are a danger to themselves and society. In all honesty the film does do the race some justice. Q is able to overcome all that has happened and even when his friend tries to kill him he still tries to save him. Bishop let’s go because he respects Q and that’s how Q earned his juice.

Young African American men tend to follow this kind of behavior. There are so many of them who feel that they have to be bad and violent to get respect. Many of them are afraid to stand up and be leaders and choose different paths. Sometimes the ones who do this don’t get respect from others of the latter type because they are afraid to do it themselves. These men want to feel that they have power and respect and yet they have to kill someone or rob someone just to get it. It is the men who want to do something better with their lives than live dangerously and foolishly who deserve it. The African American culture has endured its hardships because of films like this and yet they still keep on making them. Let’s face it they do sell and now our children feel that the only way to earn respect is by taking it.

Many African American men are behind bars for these same kinds of crimes involved in Juice. What good is respect when you have to pay for it with your life or by sitting in a cell? African American men need another way to make them selves’ feel worthy of respect. They need to show the world that they are not the barbaric animals that are depicted in films like this. There needs to be more Q’s and less Bishops. There are a number of films that show African American males in a better light but there are more films that show them in a darker one than any light at all. Films like Juice can help but also hurt the African American culture and they should be looked at as entertainment only, even if they do relate to the culture.


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