TRIBECA 2020 FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! “In the old days, right, whatever your family were, that’s what you were in the tribe, right?” In many ways, this is how Jerome “Bam” Blackburn, the central figure in the hopelessly hopeful short film, Mr. Somebody, views his lot in life. “I did not choose the gang. I never grew up and said this is what I wanna do. I was taught this,” Bam says. He never had a chance.
Living his life in the notoriously violent Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, Bam is an affable, laid back, and introspective sort; even more so now that he is experiencing his longest stretch free from the criminal justice system: three years. Recollecting on some of the poor decisions he has made throughout his life, Bam looks forward to the future. He would love to know what it feels like to go to work in a suit and tie, for example.
“Recollecting on some of the poor decisions he has made throughout his life, Bam looks forward to the future.”
But Bam is realistic. He understands that a life of violence, gang warfare, and the uncertainty surrounding whether a friend or neighbor will be alive from one day to the next, is the sort of life that has been ordained for him. It’s all he has ever known. The role models Bam had in childhood were the sorts of characters that he has grown up to embody. “When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to go to jail – I wanted to go to prison because I thought that made you somebody.” So Bam is hopelessly hopeful; imagining a future that he knows deep down is not in the cards for him.
"…He never had a chance."