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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Higher Learning (1995) – Movie Review

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Jelisa M.
Jelisa is a lover of all music, but 90's R&B has a special place in her heart. She considers the 90's a groundbreaking era for black entertainment that should be celebrated more. "Music is my love language and movies are my mistress."

Movie Review •  Based on John Singleton’s experience’s while attending USC, Higher Learning can be a triggering movie if you’ve experienced the situations highlighted in the movie or just knowing that these are still relevant issues today. This is one of those movies that I can’t watch too much or else I’ll be upset at “The Man” for the rest of the day.

One thing about black directors in the 90’s, they will re-cast actors from their previous films. Singleton re-casted Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube & Regina King who all played in Boyz in the Hood in 1991. Like the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Although Singleton originally wanted to cast Sidney Poitier as Professor Maurice Phipps, Fishburne & his accent did the job pretty good. Michael Rapaport as Remi is always so weird to me because of how he is today. His character was annoying AF in the beginning which him becoming a skinhead made sense.

Fudge was a cool character but he is also that “extra woke” friend that you can only take so much of. He was speaking facts most of the movie but sometimes what he said wasn’t necessary for that time or space. My favorite part of the movie is when they go snatch Billy up after he called Monet a black b!tch on the phone while calling to speak with Kristen after he raped her. Dreads (Busta Rhymes) was the funniest character of the movie with his random outburst in scenes. We all knew or had that friend like Dreads on campus, they were usually the life of the party.

Singleton created a movie based around a very touchy subject, especially going as deep as it did. This film touched on an issue that we know exist at PWI’s but most racist on campus are not as proud & open as they were in Higher Learning. Them fools were straight skinheads & they got the perfect characters to play them because they could fool me into thinking they were skinheads in real life. This movie is the one you should show your black kid if you want to persuade them into going to a HBCU. I’m not saying all PWI’s are like this, but just know the culture & the people are very different. Singleton did a hell of a job writing this one, it’s definitely one of his most underrated pieces.  

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