On this episode of Black Therapist Podcast we talk about the psychology behind the box office smash, Jordan Peele's Movie US! 

Us The Movie Let’s Talk About It

On this episode we talk about the psychology behind the box office smash, Jordan Peele’s Movie US!

We break down all the symbolism we uncovered in the movie and processed the many many social take aways! Join us in the discussion.

Transcript:

0:00
I am Brooklyn based psychotherapist Nikita Banks and I am your host of The Black therapist podcast the black therapist podcast the podcast where we discuss the unique issues people of color face when dealing with mental health issues and mental health diagnosis. If you would like to reach out to us for feedback or show suggestions show topics, please feel free to contact us at blackberry podcast at gmail. com. You can listen to new or past episodes on SoundCloud, Apple podcast Stitcher, Spotify, YouTube, I Heart Radio and Google Play. If you are having trouble listening to us on your preferred platform, or if you want us to be on a platform that we’re not currently on, make sure that you send us a private message on our Instagram page at Black therapist podcast. Or you can just drop us a message or send us an email at back therapists podcast com. If you want insider tips, resources and access to our free mental health course make sure that you text get happy to 66866 and my new book, finding happy seven steps to relationships that will not steal your joy is available right now on Amazon, go to our website or go to our Instagram pages and click the link and purchase because we want to help you get your relationships together for 2018. And beyond these Be mindful that this episode and all the information that we provide here is just a resource and a tool to help get you started on your mental health journey. If you are feeling any mental health distress, or you having any significant issues, please feel free to reach out to us so that we can find you a mental health provider in your area. Okay, let’s go. Hey, guys. So my God, it’s been a pretty eventful week. And we are coming, winding a set coming. But we’re going we’re winding down to the end of Social Work month because it’s spring, spring has sprung and it is nearly April. And so if you’re following me on social media, you know that last week I went to Congress was able to get my award. Thanks to you guys. First of all, I want to shout out everybody that voted for me to get the award for the the work I do here at Black therapist podcast. And you guys know, it’s my goal to be transparent and to raise awareness for people of color, dealing with mental health issues, and the unique issues that we face. Because I think that a lot of us are so afraid to go get psychological help because number one, people don’t look like us who are providing us the services. And number two, I think sometimes the psychological models that are used, and they are not optimal for people like us. And so I just want to thank you guys for acknowledging the work that I do here. And I want to give a few shout out shout out to Dr. Charles Lewis Jr. who is a I’ve been very instrumental in helping social workers become politically active. And I think that everybody needs to be politically active, especially in this current political climate. I will not lie going to Congress, or, you know, going to Yeah, the congressional buildings during this political climate is still a bit scary. There’s a lot going on in the world, and, you know, our apathy, or lack of proactive activity, to be civically engaged, and to take our place in this, this world of politics has really come to bite us in the ass. And so I want to thank everybody who came out to the award, everybody that was there, my family who came to support me, like it was really, really, really emotional. And I had to give a speech guys like I really wasn’t, I wasn’t prepared for speech. So if you see my social media posts, you’ll see that I put down that as I saw people in front of me getting up and speaking, I was like, holy crap. Like, I get paid to speak speak for a living, like I’m studying right now thinking about it, but I get paid to speak for a living. And it completely freaked me out. Speaking in that room, I forgot Chuck Schumer’s name.

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But what up, Chuck, I got his name in my speech. And also, I want to say thank you to Ed towns, who created this space for social workers who is also a social worker who is also from Brooklyn, New York. Oh, at least was the congressman from Brooklyn, New York. So I just want to say shout out to the home team. Ah, ok. And let me see. I wanted to say shout out to the other award recipients. Dr. Mary McKay, who used to work for NYU, but no longer is with us at NYU. Elizabeth coats who I hope will come on the show. She is working in Congress, but she is also a social worker MSW. And I definitely want to talk to her about us as social workers. If you are a social worker, and you’re listening, becoming more politically active, and lucky, a cherry, as well as Robert. Oh, my God, I don’t want to mess up his name. sag assume. I hope I said that. Right. Robert, who is in first year MSW at Brown, and he is doing amazing things. So it was an amazing events. My family actually got to see what it is that I do my walked out of the room and she was like, Nikita, I hear you talking. I be hearing you talking majesty. He was talking. I didn’t know that you do all these things. He was like, I’m thoroughly impressed. And there was one point in the room where one of my former professors were there. And he was like, I’ve been looking for you. I wanted to give you a job. And I was like, really here I am. And so I went to my and I told her, I was like, wow, you know, he was looking for me, he wanted to give me a job. And she was like, wow, and I don’t know, I went to get her some wine or give her something to drink. And I came back and she was like, having a full fledged conversation with him. It was almost as if she wanted him to repeat the story. Not that she didn’t believe me, but that she was just such an all that she wanted to hear it herself. So I was I was very tickled by that. Because my family, I remember saying in the room to one of my colleagues, and I was like, Well, you know, my family doesn’t really get it. Like they don’t, they don’t really care. Like I often feel like when I accomplish things that my family sometimes doesn’t care. And I think when you’re expecting other people to support, I’m not going to get emotional. But when you’re expecting other people to support the vast capacity of your dreams and your desires, when they seem so insurmountable to them. It is impossible for them to fathom that you may actually make it. And so I’ve kind of coined this I don’t know phrase that my family will be BB last to congratulate me. But the first to brag about my accomplishments. And so that’s not a prideful moment. That’s not something that I’m proud of to say about some of the members of my family. But you know, the Banks family, the Thomases, you know, the Brooks is the deck where everybody is really come through Parks’s. Everybody’s really come through to like, let me know that they are proud of what I’ve done. But yeah, so that’s that. But yeah, if you are a social worker, under the sound of my voice, as I said, in my speech, I just want you guys to know that your community needs you. We are the first line of defense of every single tragedy that happens in this country, whether it’s the war on drugs, whether it’s the open crisis, whether it’s just general health care, whether it’s community organizing, or homelessness, like we are really out there doing the work. And it’s, it’s really hard, like you cannot do this job. If you’re not passionate about it, you cannot do this work. If you don’t want to cry some days.

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If you if you really want to get praise and respect for what you do, this may not be the career for you, to be honest with you. But you have to be proud of the work that you’re doing it you have to be passionate about it and just know that your community, even though you may not always get the Banks and the accolade your community needs you. And I salute you. And I salute what it is that we do. So I just want to say again, happy Social Work month to all the social workers under the sound of my voice, and everybody else who wants to be a social worker, you know, just for having that desire. I want to say, do it. Your community needs you. Okay, so that was this week. And then I my child’s my friend, Mike mobile, who had an amazing event on Friday, he sold out a whole theater for us to watch us. us is the new movie by Jordan Peele, if you don’t know that. Okay, it features the Peter Nyanga, Winston Duke who are both from Black Panther. And it was an amazing movie, but it was kind of one of those movies that you get to see. And you’re like, what, what the fuck was that, like, I kept seeing a lot of people come back, and they were, who had seen the movie, and they were like, I don’t really know what that was. Right. And so it’s a lot to unpack. So if you don’t want to hear spoilers, and if you’re not ready to discuss the movie us, then you may want to come back next week. Next week, I hope to to talk to you guys more about some of the programs that we have coming up some free, some paid. And please go to back there to shop merchandise shop, buy a T shirt, buy a bag, get a mug, help support our movement. And what we do, I got some dope stuff up there. It’s not like you will just be buying a T shirt to support me you’ll be buying some dope merchandise, especially if you’re a therapist, especially if your mental health advocate I got some really cute things coming on the site. So there’s that Oh, and healthy relationship building for boss chicks learn relationship cheat codes and 20 minutes a day. That course is up now and it is free. So you can go to black therapist podcast.com and get that information or go to Nikita in IKAITA banks.com. Okay, that out of the way, let’s talk about us, first of all, so I had like, drinks and the movie was like, I’m so glad to this like an all black movie theater situation. So my friend bought it out so that all of us could kind of watch it together. And so I was sitting next to like a lot of smarty pants is because like a lot of my friends are like educated and like she she fool. But some of us were in the bag. A few of us had a few drinks, I had one. And I was having a little cocktail while I was watching the movie. But I was sitting next to my friend who we kind of figured out the plot of the movie really early. Like if you haven’t watched the movie, I’m gonna try to do this without giving as many spoilers as I can. But since I really process this movie, outside of the conversation that I’ve had with my cousins, it some things may slip out. So I just want to let you know that if you don’t want spoilers if you don’t want, if you don’t want any surprises, you might want to come back next week. Okay? Well, hey, we have a whole bunch of other episodes for you to listen to, you can go on our YouTube channel, also. And watch show there.

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us.

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So from the trailer, you can deduce that the movie is basically about a family of four, who is fighting another version of themselves. And there’s a situation that happens. And there’s a traumatic, traumatic event. And so when I first saw the movie, I was like, Man, this is about trauma and resilience. Like it’s literally about having a traumatic experience. And being able to, you know, overcome that. And being this like, this is really what this is about. I thought it was a social commentary on only on those things, right. And the day before I saw it, I started seeing people posting on social media about it, which was like, What was that? Like? What did I just see? And then I saw one of my friends who posted you know, us is the kind of movie that you’re not so sure what you watched as you watched it, but like a day or two later, you start to unpack certain things. So shout out to my education in Brooklyn, New York, shout out to 324 junior high school 324 that I went to, because in that school, I actually got black history. And so a lot of the concepts that I saw in the movie, I was able to understand because of the historical content of some of the things that I’ve seen. Now if you are an 80s Baby, you will remember some of the references like hands across America the the one glove which is Amash, to both Michael Jackson and Freddy Krueger, the red jumpsuit as a kind of like the utility su as kind of like a Omar’s to Mike Myers. They actually had like little little videotapes or VHS is like by the TV. I’m not like I don’t want to tell you too much by the TV. So those give you clues if you’re watching the movie, have certain things that happened in the movie was like horror films that were there. So they really tried to pay homage to those genres that they liked. Now, I’m not a horror flick kind of girl. The last horror flick that I saw was get out. And I don’t really feel like get out. It was like horrible. It was more suspense. Growing up. I’ve never seen a Mike Myers movie Halloween, never thought that it was a thing that I wanted to see. I don’t like like, you know, devils movies. I remember once seeing the exorcist when I was a kid and like not a saint, this this is not for me. And it made me really scared to go to Georgia, go to Georgetown when I lived in DC. So

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I’m not, I don’t know, if I’m just not

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educated enough. I don’t know if I’m educated enough on the genre to know if every single

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horror movie has

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metaphoric value to society. But I caught all of the references in this movie. The fact that first of all, there’s something that happens at the end of the movie. And like, like I said, we we figured that out in the beginning of the movie. Y’all watch it to the end, but we figured that out until the end of the day, like in the beginning of the movie, like super early, we got that. Um, but I think this movie. So let’s talk about the repeat it. Let’s talk about the repeated symbols in the movie. So I think the rabbit when you first open the first movie first opens after the opening scene, there’s a rabbit. And if you know anything about rabbits, rabbits are usually used for a psychological not psychological scientific testing. And they have a lot of babies. So I think the rabbits kind of represented black people, and how our bodies are not our own. And how, you know, we sometimes feel trapped, they will also in a cage, and they were in a classroom. I think that the the movie really, truly was about opportunity. And it was about the part of us that that we nurture in the light, and we nurture and love and that we feed in a positive way will allow us to grow. And we see from the thing that happens in the movie, that if anybody is given love and sunshine, you know, sunshine is a metaphor, right? Love and sunshine and care. They are able to be humanized. They are able to find love and procreate and

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dream.

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You know what I’m saying? It was one of my favorite scenes in the movie was after the traumatic events, the Pete and I uncle’s character. As the child she was a child. So it really wasn’t hard. But the young lady who played young Nikita was I mean Adelaide, her name Adelaide, Adeline Adelaide. I don’t know black girl named Maddie, but we just call it Addy for now. Adelaide Wilson, right. The Young Miss Wilson.

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She went to therapy.

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And they had a predominate play therapy desk there. So I was like, okay, they took her to therapy. And through art. And through dance was really where she was able to find her voice. That was really where she she came into her own. And with the love and support of her parents. She was able to overcome the circumstances. So I thought that that was poignant. And that was something that was apparent to me in the beginning. It was like, you know, even the guy that I was sitting with, he was like, Well, why didn’t she tell her man about the thing that she been through, like maybe he would understand why she really wants to leave the town. And I’m like, that’s how trauma works. Like we don’t often tell somebody else of the traumatic things that we’ve gone through because we don’t think that they understand or we we even want to put it out of our mind. And so that was one of the concepts that I saw early on. The movie took place in literally three places. Oh, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz was also a shout out to the movie, The Lost Boys. And if you haven’t seen it, shame on you. But it was up, it was a shout out to the 80s 90s movie. The last place which is like one of the only horror I’ll say in air quotes, that movies that I saw, I don’t really think it was horror, but I do love that movie. And so I thought that that I caught that reference pretty early as well. Um, I got five on it. Of course, I remember that song I still to this day Don’t know what messing with that. And OE means so if you know, please hit me. And let me know what it means. Because I don’t know. I never know, I didn’t know when the song was out the first time, I still don’t know what the NOE is. So, um, let me see what else cuz I had a whole discussion on Facebook about this movie. So I think if you even if you look at what’s happening right now, in the school scandal, the thing about this movie is that there were two versions of a person, right, it was an American government experiment that went

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wrong.

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And what happened in the experiment is that they made two of us. And the underground me was supposed to control the upper ground me, for the people in red, was supposed to control the people up top, but they weren’t able to recreate our souls. Like that’s what the movie was about. And because of that, they just assume that everybody underground was solace. And it’s it’s the same way that our government looks at homeless people. It’s the same way our government looks at Black people, and they humanize us. I think it was no coincidence. I don’t know why I’m joining like, it will definitely wasn’t no coincidence that they all wore the same outfit, like our prisoners to that orange jumpsuit, or that red jumpsuit, is it looked to me, very institutionalized. And it looked to me, like prison how prisoners are seen in this, this society also look like how we see humans who are homeless, because they are still humans. There’s a part in the movie when Winston Dukes character who I’m going to get into in a minute, but Winston character looks at his doubles and was like, Whoa, what are you people, and they were, they said were Americans. And us, I believe is also shorthand for the US. So it also is about us as a society and how we throw away our homeless people, and how we throw away people who are incarcerated, and we don’t invest in those people. So that’s another thing that I saw a plus hands across America was supposed to be a failed attempt to raise money for homeless. Now I don’t really remember I remember hands across America. And I literally remember the song from when I was a kid, and I was growing up and I watched it. But growing up in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, like I really wasn’t, I was looking at like, I’m not holding hands across it. Like that’s the stupidest cuz really what it was, was this is event where you were supposed to give money. And then, you know, all of us who were supposed to hold hands, like I like to teach so world to saying no, no, not in Brooklyn, I wasn’t going to do it. So I remember it, but it just seemed kind of stupid to me. When I even when I was a kid. I didn’t get the concept. But it was a bomb. And it failed. And it didn’t raise as much money as it was supposed to. And I don’t think it did what it was supposed to do. And so the fact that the capital remember, hands across America, and she was going to use that as a protest, to raise awareness on the this failed experiment. I think that was dope. But it was this little black girl who organized this. And if you’ll see through the movie, repeated in almost every damn thing,

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like Adelaide,

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she did everything the mom did everything that if you watch the movie, the husband was handicapped in like the first 30 minutes. And I think it’s it’s that was also allegorical to the way black men are seen in this community, like black men are not allowed to be the head of our households,

25:13
you know, for whatever reason, mostly

25:15
political reasons. But they struggled to find your footing. In that way. As well as it’s, it’s really hard to allow someone to be the head of the household when they can’t.

25:32
They can’t protect their family.

25:34
So wisdom, Duke’s character, as sexy as he was in the other movie, he makes me he was making me super sick. Like he was really getting on my nerves, because he was not doing what he needed to do as a man. So for me, like, in the first few minutes, he was incapacitated, what I’m gonna do what you like a literally like dragging him throughout the rest of the movie. And he was slowing them down. Like the portrayal of the black man in this movie, it really aggravated me. And then at one point, Nikita was going to go fight some people and go kill some people. And he was like, give me kiss. Boy, if you don’t get the, you know, I remember screaming, screaming at the screen. Like if you don’t sit your ass down, somewhere with that give me kiss. So yeah, that was that. He was really disrespected by everybody in the family. nobody listened to nothing, he said. And the only person that he defeated in his in, you know, his battle was his self. So that was really it. There was no white savior in this movie. But they did go to white people for help. And the white people couldn’t be trusted. So there’s that. Let me see, what did I miss about this movie? Because I said a lot in my little chat. When I was trying to get this all out, like it’s so much to unpack in this movie. And if you have seen it, and you want to add something to what I’m saying, Please add it to my discussion, because I still have a question that I don’t think will be answered.

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And

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maybe I’ll ask it at the end of this show, to see if you understood, um, I was talking about the educational stuff. So if you look down the rabbit hole, you will see that what happened was, it looked like a classroom, but they were like empty classrooms like they really want to teach them anything. And they didn’t have souls. So how would they learn? Right? But I think it I think it really was trying to say the failure of class, race, educational opportunities, and lack of those things, is why there are some of us who succeed. And some of us who fail, really talked about how the oppressed are dehumanized, and how they’re not allowed to gain the same copy of kind of opportunities that anybody else need to survive. And we see that we see that recently with what’s going on in this new scandal that happened with full house and Felicity Huffman. And I mean, I like Felicity, but you know, I don’t like the fact that of what she what she did.

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And I think that, you know, this whole

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the problem with class in this country is the same reason why we have a stupid ass president who has been coddled his whole entire life and, and has everything and believes that he actually earned in deserve the things that he had, he actually did it. You know, what I’m saying, like, we gotta do better as, as at providing opportunities for each of us to succeed. And that used to be the goal in America, but not I also think the movie was about social narcissism. And if

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you don’t know what that means, just look it up.

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It’s basically societal pride, I’ll say in quote, but it’s what we’re seeing right now, where the liberals all together and the right wing nut jobs are all together. And evangelicals, like everybody is basically ganging up, everybody squatting up. And instead of thinking that there are enough resources for all of us to eat and succeed, it’s usually us against them. Like the rich can’t get a tax cut, if the poor, you know, get Medicaid, or, you know, if you have section eight housing, then the rich people are paying for it. Like it’s, it’s just ridiculous, like, never once in this movie,

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was it

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thought that the two people could coexist? And I think that that was the reason that there were twins in the movie not doubles. But the twins, that would be a because twins twins are basically they shared DNA, some of them right? Or yes, some of them shared the same, have the same exact DNA, they have different souls, but they have their own paths. And so it was never thought throughout this movie, that one could exist, at the same time that the other could exist, both having the same opportunity. And I think that that was the major aha moment for me watching this movie was that there was really probably no reason that one had to kill the other the Adeline or read can both exist at the same time, because they they did. They already existed, they just existed in two different places. So I think that that was part of what I was getting at that, you know, we can all succeed in it. We don’t have to be against one another for that to happen. We don’t have to murder each other in order for that to happen. We can literally coexist and be just fine.

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I’m

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the little boy has masked I believe the little boy.

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What was the Jason’s mask, first of all, Jason, is a nother not to Friday the 13th. His mask is another nod

31:35
to Friday the 13th.

31:37
But I think the mask that both of the little boys wore it really had, it was symbolic to duality that black people have in this country, we always have to kind of put on a mask to succeed. And so I think that that was kind of dope. Let me see what else I said in this chat. If I’m rambling guys, just charge it to the game, because it was a lot of stuff. The question that I have, I want to ask, but I want to wait to ask it because I don’t want to give you guys too, too much. I think I’ve been talking about concepts

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more

32:20
then giving away specific spoilers. But yeah, the movie was was definitely about the darkness and all of us, and what you feed grows, us being able to be creative in order to, you know, feed our humaneness and feed our soul going to therapy, learning to draw a dance. It was also I believe about, you know, and I’m saying you could you could draw correlations, I don’t think it was about foster care. And those kinds of things of, you know, neglect, childhood neglect. And, yes, only through creativity, did the girl find her voice? That was not I think I talked about the concept of the rabbits there was a girl little girl had a rabbit on a shirt, they were playing with the rabbit, they were alive rabbit. So obviously rabbits was was a huge concept. I think that rabbits was a Nazi medical testing that the community has done on black people, and how our bodies have been used for science without our consent. And I like that the funhouse said find yourself, let me see. Also, I like the connection between the black mother and her son. Not going to give it away. But I think that that was it was characteristic of how the connection that black boys have to their moms,

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where they really see a lot going on with the daughter.

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And that kind of shocked me a little bit. The husband was also like I said he was handicapped. And the only real thing that he that he aspired to be like, was like the white family that was there. So then there was that he wanted capitalism he wanted his kids to do well, like it really was about lifestyle for him.

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But yeah,

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I think that that’s

34:28
OO,

34:30
and the basic concept of the movie since us is about us. It is about the darkness that exists in all of us, it is about our opportunity to, to create and grow and be good. But it is also a commentary on how if we don’t keep an eye on our government, if we are not politically active, if we’re not civically involved, our government will create a gross atrocities against us, against the community against the environment. And if we’re not paying attention, we will be held accountable that maybe we won’t be murdered by our doubles. But, you know, we have to be held accountable. The concept of tethering that was that was deep. I think the concept of tethering really had to do with how we are all connected to one another, as a community, and what happens with one happens with all of us, and we really, truly have to be mindful of our friends and neighbor, we have to care about, you know, what’s going on with other people. So there’s that. And they said it was a possibility they left the ending the way it did. So maybe there’s a sequel, I would like to see a sequel. I think that that’d be dope. I need to find out what happened with the little boy. Definitely, you want to know what happened with that? I definitely want to know, I want my question answered, which is why she changed a shirt. I want to get more in depth with that I really, really do. But I would need to do a lot of chat for that. I would need some feedback. So I need to know why she changed the shirt.

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And so

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that was really it. I hope you guys have gone to see us. I hope you

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you know,

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hope I’ve covered everything if you think I’ve covered everything. And if you think I’ve missed something else, if you think there was something that I didn’t add,

36:32
let me know. Honestly, I watched

36:34
the movie and then I left there like it really wasn’t as good as get out there really wasn’t a lot of concepts or whatever. But the more and more I thought about it, the more and more I was like that she was kind of deep. It was deep. But that’s what I was saying about horror movie so I’m not quite sure if all horror movies are that deep. Or if I’m just reading too much into this because this is what I’ve I’m no and what I’ve seen they said the movie wasn’t really about race. They said the movie wasn’t really about you know wasn’t gonna be as deep as as get out. I saw a lot of racial dynamics in the movie. Oh, yes, they called the police the police never came bomb. They call the police and the police never arrived. So that was that was something to think about as well. So there was the there was no help coming for them. There was no help coming for them as if there’s no help coming for us. And so if you have any questions

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about what I talked about this week, if you want to

37:44
add to the conversation, please go on over to our

37:47
Instagram page, our Facebook page and join the conversation there. Okay,

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so this has been another episode of black therapist

37:53
podcast be well thank you guys for listening to another episode of black therapist podcast once again you can follow us on all our social media sites at Black therapists podcast on Instagram and on Twitter as well as black in therapy on Facebook or you can follow your hosts me Miss MS in IK I think on Instagram and Twitter as well as you can find out any information about me at Nikita and IKITA Banks calm and on the show’s website lac therapists podcast calm and don’t forget if you want to send us any general feedback show suggestions show topic for guest ideas please feel free to drop us an email at Black therapist podcast at gmail. com Thank you be well

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