Friday, December 30, 2016

NIA (purpose)

I had the pleasure of hanging out with theatre director Michel Hausmann and Miami filmmaker Billy Corben ("Cocaine Cowboys" and "The U" on ESPN's 30 for 30) in SoBe. At the end of lunch Billy told me to check out his netflix documentary "Dawg Fight," about the backyard fighting circuit in West Perrine, which is one of the poorest and most violent areas of Miami. I watched it yesterday and I was moved to tears.

"Dawg Fight" is filled with hometown folks who look like me and are struggling to survive. They don't want handouts, they don't blame the government, and don't want to sell drugs to their community. So they fight each other. They're smart, determined, funny, and just want a chance. They are literally trying to fight their way out of poverty. Faces are bashed in, people lose eyesight, flaps of flesh are torn from faces and blood is spilled on the 12X12 ring in a dirt-covered backyard.

Neighbors cheer, black market bets are placed on fights, the local police look on, and an official from the Dem party comes to a bout to praise self-made entrepreneur and backyard fight promoter DADA 5000. At the end of the bout, the fighters are so bashed and discombobulated that they have to led out of the ring like little children. The winner gets $200 and the loser gets $50. And they're happy to have it.

"Dawg Fight" was sad, epic, brutal, black, American, universal. These are men with purpose and I hope we can honor their hard work, pride, and dreams by giving them a chance.

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