Filmmaker Samson Styles Uses Own Violent Past To Spark Dialogue On Growing Problem, In New Documentary Film “Killing Beef: Gun Violence In The Black Community”
Finally, someone has officially reported what filmmaker Samson Styles — and anyone living in an urban area — knows to be a fact, mass shootings in Black communities are being ignored! In a new documentary produced and directed by Styles, “Killing Beef: Gun Violence in The Black Community,” the award winning journalist uses his own violent past as a starting point for a conversation that is long, long overdue.
The Trace Reports: In 2020, mass shootings disproportionately occurred in majority-Black neighborhoods. But even the highest-casualty incidents received limited national media attention. “There was the shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina, in June of last year, where gunmen fired more than 200 rounds into a crowded block party, killing four and injuring five others. Two months later in Washington, D.C., multiple shooters fired into another neighborhood block party, killing one and injuring 21. In January of this year, gunfire erupted during a basketball game at a public park in Miami, injuring eight. None of these shootings prompted multi-day news cycles or condolences from former presidents. But they were just as devastating to local communities as the shootings in Boulder or Atlanta, doing the same kind of damage to residents’ sense of safety in public spaces.”Champe Barton The Trace, Mar 25, 2021
A reformed criminal and victim of violent crime, award winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Samson Styles searches for life’s meaning in the biographical-documentary feature “Killing Beef: Gun Violence In The Black Community” streaming now on Apple, Amazon, FandangoNow, GooglePlay, PlayStation, Vudu, and Xbox. Written and directed by Styles, the film is an unflinching look at Black-on-Black crime, and the forces that drive young Black men to commit acts of gun violence. A first-person account of criminality, Styles takes a conversational approach to “Killing Beef,” by telling his cautionary tale to a youth (Chris) dealing with his own violent trauma. After the murder of his older brother, Chris seeks advice from Styles, who uses the opportunity to discourage the him from seeking vengeance. More than a true-crime documentary, the film is a thought-provoking look at a Black man as he finds a purpose for his life: saving Black boys and preventing gun violence. How do we end the cycle of gun violence raging in America’s urban centers? How do we start Killing Beef (brokering peace) before things escalate to shots being fired? Styles sets out on a journey to find solutions.
At the heart of this documentary is the conversation between Styles and an impressionable youth, during a critical time in his development, that gives “Killing Beef” a hopefulness and a sense of meaning rarely found in urban crime docs. However, the most poignant moment in the film is when Styles reunites with the shooter who wounded him and left him for dead years earlier.