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Actor Jahi Winston Talks "Charm City Kings", Politics and Young Black Boys Being Seen in the Media

The last time we spoke to actor Jahi Winston he was on the cover of our Power Issue discussing his role on Lena Waithe's Queen & Slim. Little did we know, during the filming of Queen & Slim he was auditioning to play Mouse on the Barry Jenkins' film Charm City Kings.

We were able to attend the New York Premiere of Charm City Kings at the New York Latino Film Festival. Before the film started, we spoke with Jahi about his role in the film, his take on politics and the importance of young Black boys seeing themselves represented.

On the importance of young Black boys having visibility and being represented he says:

I think some people downplay the significance of visibility and representation just because it seems so farfetched and the fourth wall kind of divides us from our everyday lives and the images we see on television. As we know, our experiences reflect and influence our everyday reality. If you're a little Black boy or little Black girl and your idea of beauty is defined by the Mona Lisa, a white woman with silky brown hair and it's not defined by someone who looks like you, in a child's mind you automatically and inevitably assume that you are not the standard of beauty.

Jahi believes people need to view politics as they view sports.

People should start looking at politics the way we look at sports. Think of politicians as the team members. If one team member messes up, then that's okay. He can sit on the bench but we still have to achieve the goal of the team. A lot of people, if the election doesn't go the way they want it to go and they stop rooting for the team.

Jahi is excited for everyone to watch Charm City Kings because it's a coming of age story.

[The film] is really about how one decision at such a young age can change your life forever. It's a story of young boyhood, Black boyhood, which I think is really dope. A coming of age story. It has elements of stand by me but it also has elements of classic Black families that we've come to know and love.

Check out the full interview below.

Charm City Kings is available on HBO Max October 8.


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