notorious

…At least not for kids. Sure this post is a little late in the sense that the film “Notorious” came out over a month ago, but the theme for the post is timely: children attending rated R movies.

I lived in Bedford-Stuvesant when B.I.G. did. I’ve always been vocal about being a fan of the man that changed Hip-Hop. He changed it with his lyrics and his, well, untraditional look. His life inspired us in Brooklyn and in ‘hoods around the world. My wife and I remember getting chills the first time we separately heard “Juicy.” And me when I saw the video and him walking the same streets that I walked. Sure he was a tragic hero, with great many flaws, but at the end of the day the music was all that mattered.

That’s why opening weekend found me in a movie theater getting ready to go back in time to the 90s. I almost never go to see a movie on the first weekend in release. Too many people. But for a trip back to the Stuy of my youth, it was worth it. The wife and I got there early so we could get a good seat and we watched the diehard fans roll in. And a bunch of them brought their kids! These kids ranged in age from two and up. A few babies in arms were there too. Now, if you’ve ever heard a Biggie song then you know darn well that you have no business bringing your kids to a movie about his life.

I enjoyed the film. It was told with reverence for a Hip-Hop icon. And it had the sex, drugs, and violence that you’d expect from a film about a guy who spun lyrical tales about sex, drugs and violence. The issue here is that “Notorious” is not a children’s film. Heck, the last children’s film I saw was barely a children’s film. We as parents must use our common sense and not take our children to every film that we want to see. That night my son spent the evening with grandma, while we took in a rated R movie. The funny thing about movie ratings is that they – now bace yourself – give you an idea of what’s appropriate viewing for your kids.

Now there is more to this than just the suspect judgement that a parent who takes their very young kid to an R rated movie obviously has. There is also the courtesy factor. I did not pay $12 for a toddler to stumble past me in the dark as he yelped and ran from his mother, who, mind you, was not even chasing him. This particular kid ran amok with no supervision. Another young boy looked way to happy/amused to watch Biggie and Kim do the things they sang about.

I’m big on supporting black films. I believe that in order to ensure distributors continue to buy black films we have to continue to make sure they are made by going to the movies. What’s more, I like to be told a story that I can personally connect to. But all parents at all movies must use sound judgement when choosing what their young kids see on the big screen. I think even Ms. Wallace would agree with that.