Blindspotting is a current and wildly entertaining depiction of race and class set against the backdrop in the rapidly gentrifying city of Oakland, California.
Collin (Daveed Diggs) must stay out of trouble during his last three days of probation. However, when Collin witnesses a police shooting, him and his trouble making best friend’s (Rafael Casal) relationship is tested. Together they juggle with the complexities of identity and their changed realities. Daveed Diggs and longtime friend, Rafael Casal co wrote, produced and starred in this provocative and unapologetic film combining humor, hip hop and real-life experience to give audiences a glimpse of every day life in the Bay Area. Be sure to check out our exclusive interviews with both Daveed and Rafael.
The Knockturnal: This movie talks a lot about race and police brutality. This is a heavy conversation, it’s everywhere. What makes Blindspotting’s take on the issue unique?
Daveed Diggs: I think that Blindspotting doesn’t have a take on it. In our opinion, we just try to show the world as it is for these characters. Paint sort of an accurate picture of the Bay Area right now and just put people in and let it exist. I think what we hope that that leads to is a lot of different points of entry for people. A lot of people are going to find themselves wherever they are in the conversation and allow themselves to expand from there.
The Knockturnal: It also address the controversial “N word” and I want to understand, do you guys feel like the word is empowering, or is it damaging?
Daveed Diggs: I say “nigga” all the time so I guess it’s empowering for me, but I think it’s language. It has history, every human being has to decide what that history means to them. I think the discussion that Collin and Miles have on that is actually sort of beyond that. It’s not about usage at all, like Miles has never said that. It’s about what comes after that. It’s about the, what does that mean politically that it’s okay for me to say it but not you.
The Knockturnal: Another topic in the movie is white privilege. So, some people don’t even think it exists, so okay it exists, what can you do with this privilege? How can you use it to help others?
Daveed Diggs: Miles’ interaction with that is different and again it’s person specific so one of the things we’re hoping about this film is we skip some of the basic level, does white privilege exist, is the “n word” okay to say, it’s not really about that, it’s about actual humans dealing with real life situations that all of those things orbit around. Miles is not concerned with his white privilege, Miles is concerned with feeding his family and Miles has grown up a minority in his community so his response to the world changing around him is about that. He only interacts with white privilege when he recognizes that his best friend has to deal with it, even from him, even from a person who has never really gotten to reap the benefits of it in any practical way until very recently and he doesn’t see them as beneficial.
Rafael Casal: I think they’re having this moment where they both behaved in exactly the same way their whole lives and accepted the consequences of that behavior. Collin most recently got locked up for it but because of things they both do and participated in and now as Collin is feeling it in a different way, trying to come to terms with how he wants to exist in the world he sort of has to present to his best friend who he built the behavior with to stop. It’s like you’re running the same track together for a long time and then one pulls back and goes, this is actually gonna get me killed, can you stop running, when that’s the way that Miles has also survived.