Exclusive Interview: Keith David (“Boiling Pot”)

If you’re looking for an independent film that will shock and teach at the same time, try Boiling Pot. The film, which stars Keith David, Danielle Fishel (Girl Meets World), Davetta Sherwood (The Young and the Restless), and Louis Gossett, Jr., is set during the 2008 election of President Barack Obama and shows how even during a time of supposed “post-racial” elation, horrible racist attitudes still exist in both blatant and undetectable forms.

I was excited to be able to speak with David about the film and get his insights on race in America. Boiling Pot is now available on VOD.

What attracted to you to Boiling Pot?

I was attracted by the subject matter. Anytime that somebody is willing to talk about racism in a serious way, I am certainly glad to be on board with that. It think one of the premises of this movie is how we’re all guilty of racism. I think that that’s true. I think that the way it manifests in this movie, you see that to be true, and I hope that it makes you think about your particular brand of racism and it makes you so conscious of it that you’ll stop. The next time you have those thoughts about seperatism and hatred, you’ll stop and think, “But for the grace of God, that could be me. That could be my mother. That could be my cousin. I’d better stop.”

The subject matter, as you already alluded to, is very important, and it’s interesting that the movie set around the election of President Barack Obama. What do you think about the movie being set in that time period?

I actually think the movie is more significant now. We did the movie two or three years ago…and I think it’s more significant today than it was then. If anything, the election of Mr. Obama has pointed out the fact that America is still a significantly racist country. Jim Crow is breathing as deeply today as he ever was. If you are not painfully aware of that, then you’re deluding yourself. There have been some changes. Some. And a lot of them have been like smoke and mirrors…I mean, look–we’re in the middle of having to fight for the voting rights act! Do you know need anymore proof than that that Jim Crow is alive and well? That’s a travesty.

It is, especially with Black Lives Matter having to be in existence that black lives do matter. 

The fact that I have to make a statement that black lives matter, and I have to fight on my hands getting people to realize that, that is a sad state of affairs…I mean, it’s a shame that we have to continually fight that kind of separatism. The fact is that human lives matter period and we should all profoundly embrace that. And until we do, we’re going to have this kind of dissention in this country and around the world.

With Boiling Pot, what was it like working with this cast?

I had a good time working with this cast. I didn’t get a chance to work with my friend Lou [Louis Gossett, Jr], but the fact that he has his organization Eracism, I thought that was a nice twist, a great juxtaposition because he has been promoting erascism for a very long time.

Do you think that, with the two of your playing detectives in the movie, there was a point trying to be made with the two officers being black men discussing racism?

If you want to make that point, you can make that argument if you wish. The ism exists on both sides of the law, and through all walks of life. We happen to be two black men, and I believe in the…politics of things, becuase we’re black men who have been in the world some, we would be more sensitive to the issues at hand. We happen to be black men, men of color, and men of some experience, so we would know how to deal with this issue. It does cross ethnicities. It crosses cultures.

How do you think this film will affect its viewers? What do you hope they learn from the movie?

I hope that they learn that within all of us, we all suffer from one type of ism or another…some form of racism. And that we are responsible for eradicating our own racism within ourselves. If every indivudual took that responsiblity, we’d receive less violent fallout from it. I think, I hope, I pray that to be true.

To piggyback off that, my last question is if you think America will get to the point where race and color aren’t big issues?

I can only pray [for] that hopefully, sometime within my lifetime. But progress gets made with small steps everyday. One step is to see this movie and let it affect you in the way that it was meant to, and that is to raise your consciousness.

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