Corona Man, a movie trailer slash PSA inspired by Jordan Peele’s forthcoming Candyman, is a good visual representation of how a lot of people are feeling about certain states reopening too soon amid the coronavirus crisis.
Filmmaker Bobby Huntley II used his native Atlanta as the backdrop for this film and social commentary. It starts from last Friday, when Georgia governor Brian Kemp allowed barber shops, gyms, bowling alleys, nail salons, and restaurants to reopen. The point of the film is to stay home, especially if you are black, because the African American community has been hit extremely hard by COVID-19.
According to the CDC, about 33% of people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 are African American, even though on the whole, African Americans only make up about 13% of the U.S. population. The breakdown of the data varies by city, but what’s clear is that black people are dying from COVID-19 at higher rates than other groups of people. That is a concern expressed by Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who in a Politico article published on April 21 stated that she was blindsided by Kemp’s decision to reopen and has urged Atlanta residents to continue to shelter in place until the data—based on public-health science—suggested that it was safe to do so.
Steve Harvey, Killer Mike, and the president of Morehouse College are also among the notable Georgia residents who have spoken out against Kemp’s decision. Their concern is obviously everyone’s health and safety, but given the racial breakdown of the data, and the fact that Georgia—especially cities such as Atlanta and Savannah—has a large black population, the extra focus on African Americans is valid.
The reasons why black people are dying at higher rates are still being explored, but higher rates of underlying conditions such as, obesity, stress, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and being “essential” workers all play roles.
“I understand that through entertainment you can also educate and spread awareness, so I definitely used my inspiration from Candyman and all the different horror films,” Huntley explained during an interview with Rolling Out. “To me it literally feels like we’re living in a real-life horror film right now, so just putting it in words and actions that people can actually digest and so far it has been helping.”
In short, people should continue sheltering in place as much as they can until local public health officials give the thumbs up, but enjoy this spot-on message in the meantime.