It was only a matter of time before someone brought “Karen” to the big screen. I can’t imagine a more timely moment than now for such a film as video footage of ‘Karens’ across America continues to flood the internet faster than we can count.
You’ve all seen the videos; a racist female archetype who needs to get a life or a hobby —other than verbally abusing African Americans or calling the cops on them for the most innocuous reasons. But still I was not sure if Karen the movie was a satirical, comedic look at the matter which on its on merit is absurd —for example, a “Karen” calling the cops on a little black boy selling waters on a hot summer day.
Appropriately, Karen, the movie does not shy away from such themes, but it’s not a comedy. It’s a nail-biting suspense-horror film coming soon from director Coke Daniels.
Starring Taryn Manning (Orange is the new black) as Karen, the film centers around a racist white woman who sadistically harasses her new black neighbors to unimaginable levels. The film’s protagonists Malik (Cory Hardrict) and his wife Imani (Jasmine Burke) have moved to an Atlanta suburb, right next door to Karen of all places, and well, it all goes downhill from there.
Manning looks terrifying in the trailer and she’s been quite candid when she shares why she took this role. She explained to TMZ she actually wants people to hate her character, literally. She embraced the role because she herself has had it with the awful behaviors of the ‘Karens’ who seem to walk a thin line between mental instability and racism. From Central Park Karen, Manhattan Beach Karen, and Drive-Thru Karen, to Radio Host Karen, Old Lady Karen, and Bagel Karen,
I, as a black man, am all Karened-out, and I beg the universe to keep me from ever interacting with one. However, some things seem inevitable in life when you’re black.
In playing such a villainous character, Manning hopes that people will despise her character so that people realize how awful such people are and the harm they can and have caused with their micro-aggressions that can spark violent confrontations.
Manning shared with Deadline,
“I felt a social responsibility to take on this role. Even if I had to play the villain to affect change around the globe, then I was more than willing to step into the role. What’s been going on is devastating. It’s time for a change, and for me to be a part of the bigger picture, meant a lot to me.”
So far, advanced screenings have had some moviegoers creating quite a buzz about Manning’s performance and the film itself, which has drawn comparison’s to the Oscar-winning. “Get Out.”
Daniels, explained to Deadline what drove him to tackle this matter on screen,
“Last year during the global pandemic and civil unrest, I — like many of us — felt anger, despair, and hopelessness. The overwhelming amount of support from people around the globe, who want to see change, has been such an inspiration.”
I look forward to seeing this film, as art imitates life. And it reminds me of a recent observation on the Karen phenomenon. The perpetual stereotype that black people are all violent, unlawful, scary thugs is complete BS, yet there remains this misguided assessment at the heart of every Karen encounter.
But truth be told, I always say if African Americans were really the violent, unlawful scary thugs we’re often made out to be, there would be a trail of hospitalized Karens from here to Montezuma.
Rather than keep harassing black folks, those girls should instead count their blessings.
Check out the nail-biting trailer below for “KAREN!”