Written by ZenKC on August 8, 2019
Story by Chuck Tackett
“If you’ve been the lead singer if you’ve been Gladys Knight for 400 years, it is really difficult to be counted as just a Pip. For White people here in America, that’s the great fear, we hence will all be Pips.”
The 1st time I heard of Daryle Lamont Jenkins, I was watching him being interviewed by MSNBC news anchor Joy Reid on her Saturday/Sunday morning show, “AM Joy.” Three years ago this month, I messaged Daryle to let him know my brother John and I were watching him on television. We both were impressed and wanted to know if we could “Facebook Friend” him. Much to my surprise, Daryle said yes.
The following month, I mustered up enough courage to send him my Chuck’s Chat article that week. I knew the work he was doing was rough and courageous. I wanted him to know he wasn’t alone in the struggle. At the time, I was recuperating at home from a kidney transplant I received on July 13, 2016. Even though I couldn’t be out and about, I wanted Daryle to know I was trying to do my part. I continued to send him my weekly articles.
In October, Daryle contacted me asking if he could ‘cross-post’ one of my articles. I was shocked. Daryle has been a regular reader of mine since September of 2016.
If my memory serves me correctly, I think about a year to a year and a half ago, I was watching Daryle on TV talking about a movie being made about him and a person he helped. I remember him saying the movie would be called “SKIN.”
Fast-forwarding to late July 2019, all the time before that, I was on the lookout for “Skin” to premiere. When it did, I was disappointed, because it was only playing in select theaters in select cities. As you would know it, Kansas City wasn’t in the mix.
Last month while I was flipping through movies listed “On Demand,” I saw this poster with someone favoring Daryle. The poster said “SKIN.” I remembered Daryle saying that actor Mike Colter would be portraying him in the film, so I contacted Daryle to clarify if this was his film since the advertisement said: “In theaters”. Much to my delight, Daryle said yes.
“SKIN” is described as a movie based on a true story. ‘After being raised by White Supremacists, a young man (Jaime Bell) endures a severe tattoo removal procedure as his last resort to escape the dangerous clan and the evil he has done.’ The special effects of the facial tattoos on actor Jamie Bell who portrays the troubled Skinhead Bryon Wilder were amazing. Bell’s acting in the movie as the distressed Wilder was as astonishing as well.
After completely watching the movie, I thought of the 1967 British film “To Sir with Love,” a classic which starred actor Sidney Poitier. That movie, until “SKIN,” has been the only picture that I can think of where a Black person has been portrayed as a life-saving anchor to troubled White people. For the longest time, Hollywood, it seems in my opinion, has portrayed White people as the Saviors of distressed people of color. It was refreshing to see the script flipped on that scenario. Author Leonard Pitts was so flawless in his analogy in saying Whites in America fear of not being the lead singer Gladys Knight. They fear to be a Pip, as the rest of us have been historical.
Watching the actor, Mike Colter who portrayed Mr. Jenkins, I gained a deeper respect for the work Daryle does as a Civil Rights and political activist and Founder of One People’s Project. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he is the Executive Director. The organization helps White Supremacists who are truly trying to change and escape the movement. The project also puts active members in the White Power Movement in the spotlight. I remember watching Daryle confronting White Nationalist Richard Spencer.
Daryle and the Southern Poverty Law Center have successfully assisted Bryon Widner in leaving the White Power Movement. Mr. Wilder endured about 2 years of excruciating surgery in removing his facial tattoos so he could start a new life. Getting his degree in criminal psychology, Bryon travels the country speaking about tolerance and inclusion using his life story as an example. Because of Bryon’s help, the FBI has been able to expose and arrest key criminals in the White Power Movement.
Bryon and Daryle are close friends today.
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