‘A Thousand And One’ starring Teyana Taylor [@teyanataylor] shows a black mother’s sacrificial love always wins
This year’s grand jury prize winner at Sundance is AV Rockwell’s A Thousand And One starring musical icon Teyana Taylor, who plays Inez. Inez is an unchainable tenacious black mother and hairdresser from Harlem with post-foster care trauma. Determined to save her son Terry from her foster care fate, she kidnaps the 6-year-old who was not deemed equipollent to her ex-convict past and economically unstable present.
Other publication reviews center their focus on the socio-economic struggles of Inez as an ex-con from a poor community with no further education degree to her name, aswell as the criminal-ridden past of her lover/husband Lucky, played by Will Catlett. Despite these factors, Inez, like many of our black and brown mothers living in industrial countries like the UK and the US, prioritises her son’s education while hustling to provide a roof over their heads. During this, her lover Lucky is released from prison and introduced to her son Terry. From this point onwards, we witness the development of a loving and solid father-son relationship between a black man and a black boy that biologically is not his own – a foreign storyline in Hollywood’s portrayal of ex-con, black men from the projects.
Notably, Terry, played by emerging actor Josiah Cross, grows into an academically intelligent young man who faces a crossroad. His choice is between widening his economic opportunities by going to high-performing US colleges or remaining in his familiar Harlem home where his friends and long-standing crush reside. Amid this decision, a life-altering lie resurfaces from Inez and Terry’s past, which proves strenuous on their mother-son relationship. However, this lie is one born of pain-infused love, empathy and brokenness from racially-jilted institutional systems. This lie of love ultimately is a mother’s selfless and sacrificial action to protect her son at all costs.
A Thousand And One is out now in UK Cinemas.
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