The Angry Black Girl And Her Monster is a horror film by writer/director Bomani J. Story, inspired by Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” the film is a monster movie embedded in the Black experience. The mad scientist is seen in a contemporary setting through a modern urban lens. Bomani explores the terrors of systemic pressure in the African-American community and its resilience. We spoke with the film’s stars Laya DeLeon Hayes, Chad Coleman and Denzel Whitaker about their roles in the film. The project starts by introducing Hayes’ character Vicaria and offering a glimpse at the darker side of life that she’s already experiencing at a young age. This introduction serves as a sneak peek at the true horror many people experience because of poverty and gun violence.
“Bomani was able to take such a classic tale that I think many of us are obviously familiar with and put such like a fresh spin on it, something very refreshing,” Laya DeLeon Hayes told BOSSIP. “But also on top of that something that relates to what’s happening within our own communities. There are so many things that we’re introducing you to that are the true horror of the film and that’s what feels the most scary. There’s such a thin line between life and death when you’re growing up in these marginalized communities. I feel like Bomani is able to show that in a way that’s not only scary but also incredibly gracious and in a way everyone can relate to.”
Check out the trailer below:
Chad Coleman plays Vicaria’s father Donald, a devoted parent who is also suffering from grief and struggling with a substance abuse addiction. We asked Coleman about his character’s duality in The Angry Black Girl and her Monster and why it made for a more realistic storyline.
“I think that’s the complex nature of existence,” Coleman told BOSSIP. “It’s never one thing. We get sold one thing. We get sold one dimensionality because the ignorance of capitalism is to say, ‘I got to sell it to them so I got to dumb it down.’ That’s what I love about the script. It’s just always more than one thing and to see the character have to take it on from that perspective is amazing. You see him and that’s what most people are like. It’s not a one way street. Just because you do this, doesn’t mean you don’t still own this aspect of yourself. Because they would have you say, ‘Well man, you know he doing crack, so he can’t show up for his daughter.’ That’s the furthest thing from the truth for many. They only show you the extreme.”
“I’m just very interested in that rich middle ground,” Coleman continued. “Even within that middle ground he was never celebrating that, he aspired to move away from that. You get to see that in the film as well so it’s just an honest depiction of representation of a father who’s incredibly overwhelmed, but the love in his heart and the love for his family, the decimation of the family is very real to him and the choice to self-medicate is not one I wanna judge. I felt Bomani not judging the character but saying, ‘Listen can you move out of it? Are you willing to aspire to move out of it?’ Everything about all of these characters echo my family. That’s how deep and real it is to me, so it sounds wonderful to be a part of this hybrid thing that he was able to create. If there’s something new about this it’s because the escapism doesn’t take you away from the issue.”
That same duality exists in Denzel Whitaker’s character Kango. On the surface Kango is a local drug dealer, someone who is a menace to Vicaria and her friends. Ultimately the film proves his character is far from one dimensional.
“Far too often we’re used to seeing depictions of us on screen and traditionally characters that were written about us but not necessarily coming from us,” Whitaker told BOSSIP. “So unfortunately you know when we talk about that duality we’re just as complex as anybody else. Human nature is complex in its existence and that’s why a film like this and representation to this level is important, because you know there’s all these preconceived thoughts. There’s this perception of who these characters should be. Generally, a lot of times you know when you get a script like this, that’s where it begins and ends. That’s what the character is. So what’s beautiful and this is all compliments to Bomani, the story he’s crafted and the characters that he’s woven, these are really three-dimensional characters. Conflict comes from many angles and their choices come from many angles. With regards to my character Kango, when we first meet him, you know on paper he’s an antagonist. He seems to be a secondary villain of this story, but in actuality you know there is a moral compass, there’s a compassion, there’s a humanity to him that we discover. It’s very similar and telling of people who we know actually from the community, who suffer the same thing.”
We were incredibly impressed by Laya DeLeon Hayes as Vicaria and had to ask her about her fearlessness embodying the role of a bright your girl who finds herself in over her head.
“She’s bringing back life to the dead,” Hayes told BOSSIP. “I would say with Vicaria had a lot of things to pull from, and like Denzel and Chad were saying, duality, and also just a three-dimensional human being… You don’t get many characters like that very often, being this young and in the industry and wanting to lead a project, so just getting that e-mail on my inbox was exciting in the first place. When I was prepping for it and got to meet with Bomani and truly understand his vision, he gave me so much freedom just as an actor to pull from whatever I needed to pull from and completely play, which was very liberating. I think there’s obviously so much hurt and pain and trauma that it kind of manifests into this creation or this monster. But at the end of the day, she’s just searching for family and that’s what it is. I love that we get to explore this mad scientist. She’s extremely brilliant and super courageous and fearless, but also at the same time she’s 17 years old and she’s also figuring it out. She’s extremely vulnerable and at times incredibly naive so those are all things that I could relate to and also pull from to play to play the character.”
The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster arrived in theaters on June 9, 2023 and on Demand and on Digital on June 23, 2023. It will also stream on ALLBlk and on Shudder at a later date.