Real Reel of the week: Set It Off (1996)

What do you do when your down on your luck and your back is against the wind–you ‘Set It Off’ of course.

Released in 1996, ‘Set It Off‘ was for me an honest moment of clarity that came years later when I was old enough to understand it.

Starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Queen Latifah and Kimberly Elise, ‘Set it Off’ was the story of four friends struggling to make ends meet in the projects.  After a series of unfortunate events and a vendetta to get back at the system, the friends embark on a bank robbing spree. In a tale of friendship, love, loss and hope, ‘Set it Off’ is an amazing story from start to finish.

Directed by F. Gary Gray, ‘Set it Off’ was one  of the first films that I had watched in my lifetime with an entire cast of black female leads. It was awe-inspiring and each actress  did her role justice. Jada was heartbreaking as Stoney,  Vivica made it impossible not to root for her as Frankie, Latifah gave an unforgettable performance as Cleo and Kimberly Elise dazzled in what was her feature film debut.

Not only was the film empowering but it was also inspiring. At the time all 4 actresses were in the formative stages of their career and as an 11-year-old I was given hope. I didn’t aspire to be an actress or anything but watching women who looked just like me kick ass and ‘set it off’, was amazing.

Till this day ‘Set it Off’ remains one of my favorite films. And without fail I laugh, I cry and I empathize with each and every character.  If you haven’t seen it,  I highly recommend you pick it up on your next trip to Blockbuster or add it to you Netflix queue.


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