Is it glorifying crime or fighting stereotypes?
Dope is a film about a young African-American high school senior named Malcolm, who accidentally finds himself in possession of drugs and a weapon after attending a party hosted by a drug dealer named Dom. The party ended after a shoot out between the rival gangs and police intervention. Despite being students in a crime filled neighborhood of Inglewood, California called “The Bottoms”, Malcolm and his two best friends are far from the stereotypical teenagers of that neighborhood. They have high aspirations and are considered by others as geeks. Malcolm dream is to go to Harvard University once he graduates. Being a kid of “
The Bottoms”, his dream is looked down even by his school counselor and he was told to have realistic goals despite his academic ability. He is forced to sell the drugs he came to be in possession of by a businessman and a Harvard alumnus, named AJ. Malcolm sells the drugs through the online black market and outsmarts AJ by leaving a trail of bit coin transactions leading to AJ. Malcolm, pulling out his gun, threatens his bullies who try to steal his money. At the end of the film, while typing his college application essay, he asks, “Student A is a music geek that plays in a punk band and gets straight As, while Student B suffers in the hood and makes money in immoral ways. Which student do you think I am?” In this film, Malcolm breaks both the stereotypes of a nerdy geek and the stereotypes of a drug-dealing teenager from the hood and even the stereotypes of an African-American male. However, can this film also be glorifying crime by using mainstream rappers as drug dealers and also downplaying the very real struggles many kids from crime filled neighborhoods face?