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Jordan Peele: The Voice of a Generation

In the conversation about the best filmmakers in our modern world, Jordan Peele’s name should come up at least once or twice. He is best known for his works on the 2017 American Horror Film “Get Out”, “Us” (2019), and upcoming American horror film “Nope” (2022). In addition to directing, Jordan Peele is a producer, writer, and actor. Peele also served as writer and producer for “Candyman”(2021) and “BlacKkKlansman”(2018).

This current trend of social thrillers and horror films that have notable racial themes was not created by Peele, but he has definitely taken creative control on the direction in which this trend continues. While he only has a few films in the horror genre he has already made himself a name in the industry. Jordan Peele made the horror movie impact in the black community a force to be reckoned with. There is a term coined “The Jordan Peele Influence” which is evident in other films and media from different writers and directors. There are people who try to imitate or create a film as well as or as successful as Peele, but those stories lack what Peele’s films have.

Jordan Peele’s success can be shown through the various accolades that his films have been awarded. He can be seen as a voice for our generation because he is consistently breaking barriers and paving the way for future black filmmakers to create art that showcase an accurate portrayal of what the black experience actually looks like to our community. “The scariest monster in the world is human beings and what we are capable of, especially when we get together.” Peele reimagines and reinvents horror films in a way that stirs important conversations we should be having about race and privilege. The social thriller redefines where the true horrors lie. It’s not always a haunted house or demons in the basement, but it can be the evil that lives in your white girlfriend’s childhood home.

Lena Waithe recently came out with an Amazon Prime Original Series titled, “Them”, this series has been berated online by members of the black community, calling it a cheap ripoff of “Get Out” and “Us”. Amazon’s official synopsis of the film, set in the 1950s, follows a Black family that “moves from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood during the period known as The Great Migration.” Their “idyllic home becomes ground zero where malevolent forces, next door and otherworldly, threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.” Peele has had such a huge impact with his creative genius that he has inspired more and more films that discuss the horrors of the black experience. What the other films fail to do is create a film dealing with race relations in the United States and applying social undertones without drowning out the story. The other stories end up coming off as tone-deaf or lazy writing. Peele has found a way to explore the uncomfortable experiences of being black in a society geared toward white people without making films that glorify black trauma.

Peele uses current events and social commentary to mold them into a terrifying cinematic experience. While simultaneously addressing racism and discrimination, Jordan Peele has played his role in making Black Horror one of the most successful genres in film. Peele has solidified his name in filmmaking and should hereby be considered as The Godfather of social thrillers.

Serenity Smith

Hampton U '24

Hi!! I'm a second year student at Hampton University majoring in psychology with a premedical concentration from Prince George’s County, Maryland. I'm passionate about mental health and writing. My most creative outlet is writing poetry, but I have a newfound love of writing articles about topics important to me.
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