“The American Society of Magical Negroes” Film Uses Comedy to Have Tough Conversations at Sundance Film Festival 2024

Telling A Story Despite Controversy

With such a bold title for a film, Director Kobi Libii knew he would face controversy for naming his film, “The American Society of Magical Negroes”. Even with the many comments and misunderstandings about the film, Libii had a story he wanted to tell from things he’s experienced with white individuals.

Director Kobi Libii.
Director Kobi Libii. (Picture by Tyree Pope III/Carvd N Stone)

The American Society of Magical Negroes is a comedy/satire about a society of Black people who spend their time ensuring white people feel comfortable. According to the film, the more white people feel comfortable the more likely Black people will be safe.

The film stars David Alan Grier who plays the character Roger and he inducts Justice Smith who plays Aren into the magical society. Aren is skeptical about joining but eventually caves. Throughout his time playing in his new position, he ends up catching feelings, which then turns the film into a sort of rom-com.

The American Society of Magical Negroes premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2024.
The American Society of Magical Negroes premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2024.

Despite the approach to using comedy, Libii’s film addresses racism and things Black people deal with that may not always be publicized.

“The subject matter I’m playing with is really sensitive and raw, and people have such strong, visceral feelings about it,” Libii said in a Variety interview. “I think means that we’re pointed in the right direction in terms of what we should be talking about.”

Premiering at Sundance

The stars were out for the premiere of The American Society of Magical Negroes at the Sundance Film Festival 2024.

David Alan Grier.
David Alan Grier. (Picture by Tyree Pope III/Carvd N Stone)

Before the screening, Grier stopped to chat with Carvd N Stone about having a long-lasting career in the industry.

“I really love what I do and love with young actors, love working with older actors, but I try to bring that excitement and curiosity with me,” said Grier. “It’s real simple. Nobody wants to hang out with a downer.”

The American Society of Magical Negroes releases on March 22, 2024.

Check out our video interviews from Sundance Film Festival 2024 here.

Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.

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