How ‘Blind Spot’ Tells the Vital Race Story Through Dance and Movement


SPOILER ALERT: This recap contains spoilers for Season 2, Episode 3. blind spot,”” airing now on Starz.

The final episode of Starz’s “Blindspotting” forces Ashley (Jasmine Cephas Jones) and Miles (Rafael Casal) into parenting mode after their young son, Sean, played by Atticus Woodward, uses the N-word.

Titled “The Negro and Jesus,” Ashley takes Sean to visit Miles (Rafael Casal), who is serving a five-year sentence at San Quentin State Penitentiary. This is a difficult but necessary conversation as you teach Sean why using the word is wrong.

During a conversation, the moment comes when Sean unexpectedly utters the word, but Sean is pressured and they have to discuss it with the boy.

Producer Jess Wu Calder stepped in to make his directorial debut with the episode, saying it was “the scariest thing I’ve ever done.” In the script, Calder explains the line that says, “Sean learns the history of the N-word through dance.”

choreographer Jon Boogz was called to compose the story in a dreamy dance sequence. Boogz says, “We came up with the idea to do this representation across three different generations: slavery, civil rights, and modern times.”

The inherited emotional trauma that the word caused for decades was significant to both, Calder explains. However, while arguing that all this information was told to a 7-year-old child, it was a child’s point of view and learning history, it was necessary to look at what this world would look like. Calder says: “It can just be information overload. As much as what your brain is trying to process and what it hears.” They used a magic movable bed and walls moving around the scene that would move Sean through different historical time periods.

Cinematographer Tarin Anderson used the light to flash deliberately. “It was to mirror Sean’s brain synapses,” says Calder, who worked closely with the Cinematographer. Eventually, red and blue were used as bold colors not only to make the landscape stand out, but to show the intensity of what the word represented.

The dancers swayed in sync as the sequence developed to show the workers picking cotton. “It was to match the sadness they felt had to live in these conditions.” Boogz explains, “The dancers over there had to fit in. In reality, you’re going to be sold out. We wanted buyers to have this smug, arrogant, privileged attitude about their moves. So he made some arrogantly sharp moves, with each character telling a story.

For Boogz, it wasn’t just about grabbing the right group of dancers. “I wanted dancers who could understand storytelling, intent and emotion,” she says.

Boogz explains that there are no empty moves. “If there’s no emotion behind something this important, it’s just choreography,” he says.

Boogz considered George Floyd and Eric Garner to portray the emotions of modern times. “I raised my hands and small money (dancer and choreographer friend) drowning. We took the modern issues we see in our lives and put it into dance form.”

Watch the scene below.

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