Fences Is a popular play written by August Wilson. The Film is directed by and starring Actor Denzel Washington (Remember The Titans, Training Day, and The Great Debaters). The film also features Co-Star Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder, The Help, and Suicide Squad).
The film is set in the 50’s/60’s of Pittsburg. It centers around the life of Troy Maxson (Washington), his wife Rose Maxson (Davis) and their family as they face martial issues, generational differences, and a transitional period for African Americans in the United States.
Fences also showcase the seemingly endless problematic cycles that still exists within the dynamics of black Families; One being the relationship of a black father and his son(s).
The poor relationship of Troy and his father becomes the blueprint for the relationship between himself and his own two sons, Lyon Maxson (Russell Hornsby) and Cory Maxson (Javon Adepo). Essentially Troy subconsciously becomes the equivalent to the author of his own dispositions, his dad. Which significantly effects his behavior as a father.
According to Shauna M. Cooper, PhD, an associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of South Carolina. “Boys’ Interaction with their father/father-figures may have important implications for the development of their own parenting ideologies and future involvement.” (Cooper, 2015)
Furthermore, due to the Hyper-masculine culture that Black men are raised in. Troy
Like most Black fathers, lacked the ability to show his son(s) the necessary heartfelt love, care, and even sympathy that all human beings need.
Troy’s relationship with his Wife Rose also plays a gigantic part in the film’s narrative. The origin of their martial issues seemingly has a lot to do with their lack of self-fulfillment as individuals and a series of compromises. Troy making mistakes and Rose (similar to most wives) constantly feeling like she invested too many years in the marriage to do anything about them.
Young adults today often rush into relationships and marriage without completely knowing themselves firstly, which usually causes complications and regrets later on. I'm pretty sure we've all been there.
Troy and Rose’s marriage begun causing friction between Rose and her son, Cory. Usually this kind of environment is the beginning of a young man thinking less of his mother and woman in general. Which could start a young man’s cycle of disrespecting woman.
According to six time Clarion Award winner and writer of The Mama’s Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Strong, Kate Stone Lombardi stated “as the son reaches manhood, if he enjoyed a loving, respectful relationship with his mother, he is more likely to treat his future significant other the same way… this could lead to a successful loving relationship” (Agadoni)
I found this film very monumental for the black community. It focuses on so many issues most of us are unaware of. If you are someone’s black father, husband, mother, wife, son, or even daughter go see film, PLEASE!!
Agadoni, L. (n.d.). The Psychology of the Mother-Son Realationship.
Cooper, S. M. (2015, August). Reframing the discussion on African-American fathers: Implications for positive development of African American boys. Social experience and well-being disparities that impact African American men and boys.