Posted on: March 25, 2024 Posted by: Romeo International Comments: 0

Director Kobi Libii is not afraid of the truth that needs to be told


The American Society of Magical Negroes starring Justice Smith (Aren)  tells the story of a young man trying to find his way. Along that journey, he meets David Alan Grier (Roger) a wizard with unusual powers who lends a helping hand. That helping hand opens up a new world that may be hard to swallow but is a fact of life. Director Kobi Libii sat down with Upscale to shed some light on some uncomfortable truths.


Romeo International

Watching the film I felt uncomfortable… and confused. I don’t know if it was the film as a whole or if had I experienced these things and did not know it. Am I seeing something that’s happening in real-time now today and not paying attention? My question to you is what was the line that you wanted to balance the film on? Did you want people uncomfortable or did you want them to see themselves in some way?

Kobi Libii (Director)

I appreciate that question and I appreciate the emotional sophistication of that question. As an audience member, I frankly wish all audience members were emotional. I am writing about this very topic in this very particular defense mechanism that I was taught quite explicitly as to why my black heritage has survived in America, and that is no matter what make it back home at the end of the day.

The classic example taught by my dad explicitly is how you talk to white cops, right?  I believe I slightly overlearned that lesson. I’ve interfered with my ability to take up space in my ability to be confident. I had to sort of unlearn similar to the way the character does in the film. That message especially for black people, and I would say especially for black men, is incredibly embarrassing. My job is to be honest. It is really to calibrate who’s comfortable when and how the audience is reacting when my job is to do the following. It’s to be incredibly honest about an experience that I haven’t heard anybody talk about but feels important.

I’m going to be incredibly, painfully honest about it and try equally hard to be incredibly entertaining. My sort of esthetic values are that I trust if I’m doing those two things at the highest level, you’re going to get something really meaningful out of it. I’m thrilled by that reaction because I know some people are some black people that see this and say, hey, that’s me.