Listen, family I understand that our people are under siege, that we are targeted and put in harms way by the Police Officers who are supposed to “protect and serve” by the system that incarnated us to supply the prison labor force and finally—and most shameful—by ourselves with Black-on-Black crimes rising every year. It’s so overwhelming that most of us feel we are without any power to change. I know all of this and more and I say, to all of us, take a look at Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., from St.Louis, and stop making excuses.
Please understand that I am wagging my “proverbial finger” with the same rigorous motion at myself—at all of us —that know we are not doing enough to be a part of lasting change.
In the new short doc “St. Louis Superman” which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival last month you get a glimpse at how just one man— Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. is making changes in the crime-ridden city. He’s not making excuses, no, he’s making positive change.
Bruce Franks Jr. is one of us, just 34-years-old. He’s a seasoned battle rapper and one of the leading Ferguson activist. As a state representative from St. Louis, Missouri he is known as Superman to his constituents and a political figure that’s not like the others. He’s full of deep insights and has personally overcome the tremendous loss to become one of the most dynamic and unapologetic young leaders in the country.
The taunt documentary follows Bruce at one of the most critical junctures in his life. He’s proposed an important bill for the state to review and pass. He’s also dealing with the crushing mental trauma of losing his eldest brother (Christopher Harris) 30 years ago, who was just 9-years-old when he was murdered. Part of the bill is a request that his slain brother be officially remembered by the state.
We follow this journey as Bruce confronts his pain while searching diligently and passionately for peace for himself, family and community.
The doc features Franks’ own small son and Franks’ bill for Christopher Harris Day, signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson last year.
Who is Christopher Harris and exactly why does he deserve a whole day of remembrance? That’s a complicated and easy question to answer. The easy answer is that Christopher Harris is Bruce Franks Jr.’s older brother who was murdered being used as a human shield in a shoot out between two, Black men. Why he deserves a day is complicated but it’s best summed up that the late Christopher Harris, an innocent child represents all the innocent people: men, women, girls, and boys that have died and that will die because of senseless, horrific gun violence. To that sobering fact, Christopher Harris deserves to be remembered 365 days, forever.
“St. Louis Superman” is directed by Smriti Mundhra who stumbled upon Franks watching the news and following social media. He was so inspired by his life that he reached out to the St. Louis state representative and the journey to make the short doc began.
Thank you Mr. Mundhra. The film is powerful and simple much like Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. is shown in the film. First, it’s clear that he loves his family and his community; warts and all. Second, it’s clear that he doesn’t pretend to be anyone that he is not. As a skilled battle rapper who describes writing and arguing for a legislative bill to rapping, we feel the answer instead of intellectually understanding it. Third, he’s layered and honest giving no excuses to the Black on Black violence rather he searches for realistic solutions. Fourth, he involves those who live under the violence to weigh in. Fifth, he’s hands-on, unafraid and determined and he’s successful. Lastly, I agree with your title of the documentary and the man, Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. is St. Louis Superman!