Black Psychology, American Suicide (Full Script)
A new approach to suicide prevention
I was 12 years old when I lost my father to suicide. It took 6 years of recurring flashbacks, a Bachelor’s of Arts in Degree in Psychology, and a session with a spiritual guide for me to kinda cope with that experience!
I created this short film to spread awareness about the issue of suicide in underrepresented communities.
The film is two years old, but the cause is extremely relevant to today. Please view the film, share, and take the survey so that we are able to create effective ways to combat suicide in our community.
Please reconsider suicide! We don’t want you to go!
Primary Script < 7 minutes
(A) Intro: Audio (1) plays. camera angle follows Frank as he walks, beginning on the left side and angles off to several feet in front of him [15 seconds]
(A) Frank Speaks:
Suicide has been reported to be the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2016, claiming the lives of 45,000 people. Firearms accounted for 51% of all suicides in 2016. Roughly 20 veterans commit suicide each day. In 2017, suicide was labeled the third-leading cause of death for Blacks ages 15–24. The numbers have doubled for Black boys ages 5–11 over the past 20 years. Rylan Thai Hagan, an 11-year old black boy, committed suicide in November of 2017. Black girls and Black women have the highest rates of suicide attempt. Ashawnty Davis, a 10-year-old Black girl committed suicide in December of 2017. Youth that identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Trans are five times as likely to have attempted suicide as compared to heterosexual youth. Recently, Kanye West made a statement that he renamed his past challenge with mental health a breakthrough instead of a breakdown. Willow Smith courageously confided to her mother that she used to practice self-harm. And in his recent interview, J. Cole spoke about the trials that fell upon Amy Winehouse, profoundly stating “That. . . That could be any of us”. And it can be! To further the conversation around positive mental health efforts and to give perspective on the negative impact that suicide may have on a community, I believe it is necessary to share a scene from my childhood with you. Let’s open up about this issue because we do not want you to go. [Approx. 1:18 seconds]
You know what? ( Audio (3) plays ) “Y’all are a good family and y’all don’t deserve somebody like me fucking yall life up”!
Audio (2) plays. [This is America @ 1:24] Screen flashes black again. White words in the same font, text size, and spacing as “This is America” detail “This is Madness” flash at across the screen
[Approx. 3 seconds]
Scene opens in (B) apartment
Frank Sr.: You know what? ( Audio (3) plays ) Y’all are a good family and yall don’t deserve somebody like me fucking yall life up
Actor storms off
Scene cuts from actor leaving out the door to walking down the stairs
Actor walks down stairs slowly
Actor grabs chair and flips it around
Steps on top of chair
Actor begins to emulate a suicide by hanging
[Approx. 29–40 seconds]
Toya M.: Devell!
Scene: cuts back into apartment. Audio (4) plays
Frank Jr.: Yes?
Toya M.: Take this change to yo daddy and tell him I wanna buy some cigarettes
Frank Jr.: Ok.
Scene cuts to actor walking down the stairs
Actor walks down stairs slowly
Notices elevated body
Frank Jr.: Cries out MAH MAH!!!!
Scene cuts to Toya M. walking down the stairs
Toya M.: While walking down the stairs Devell what’s…..
Actor notices elevated body
Toya M.: WHAT?! WHAT?!
Sigh ( Audio (5) plays)
Help me get him down!! OMG Help me get him down!!
Audio (6) plays
scene cuts to Rahzel
Rahzel is playing God of War and mashing buttons aggressively as if nothing is wrong
Keeps glancing down at paper on table
Puts down controller
Camera begins to zoom in on his face slowly
Picks up paper, sets it down quickly
Remembers he has a blunt in his pocket
Lights blunt (Audio of lighter plays)
He gets up and leaves
Camera zooms in on paper on the table
[Approx. 12 seconds]
Audio (7) plays
Audio (8) plays. Credits (Footage of actors) — can do 6, 3 sec clips OR divide it up differently
In Loving Memory of Frank Lawrence Sr. and all lost in the battle of mental health!
To those still fighting…
Scene replays: Let’s open up about this issue, because we don’t want you to go
Audio (9) plays
1 — This is America, 1:40–1:56
2 — This is America, 1:24–1:27
3 — Better Dayz, 0:01–0:27 (may have to loop)
4 — Acid Rain Instrumental
5 — This is America, Young Thug “America” adlib
6 — This is America, 3:40–3:52
7 — This is America, JB Blocboy “Woah” adlib
8 — This is America, 3:14–3:20
9 — This is America, 21 savage “Straight up” adlib
A — Bridge near Morris Brown
B — Frank’s apartment
C — Frank’s Apartment Parking Lot
Starring Rahzel Lawrence
Written, Directed, Produced, & Edited by: Frank Lawrence, Jr.
Shot By @AUCCAM
Painting by Ashley Horton