Parents' Guide to

A Love Song for Latasha

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Brief docu remembers Black teen whose life was cut short.

Movie NR 2020 19 minutes
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Director Allison calls herself an experimental documentary filmmaker and, as with many experiments, the results of this short film are mixed. There are many moving moments in A Love Song for Latasha. Harlins' dear friends cry as they remember the extraordinary person they lost, but many of the images that surround their heartfelt tributes -- snowy TV-screen static, for example -- add nothing to a film dedicated to telling stories of tragic and criminal treatment of Black Americans.

Still, Allison does make the important point that "We are challenging a system that has historically prevented Black women and Black girls from having agency over their narrative and public image. We are activating this space. We are interrogating new ways to imagine and engage with Black history that has been erased or left void." This documentary makes a good contribution to Black narratives controlled by the people who experience those narratives. What is great here are the words of Harlins' great friends and the picture they etch of an extraordinary young woman who seemed destined to do great things, filled with love, decency, care, and intelligence. The decision to delay an account of the sad facts of Harlins' tragedy for the film's last moments -- summarized in four text panels of white letters on a black screen -- is puzzling. This vital information served up earlier would have made the film even more moving.

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