'Chocolate City' With Tyson Beckford Is a Diverse Response to 'Magic Mike'
Get ready for a trip to Chocolate City. Doesn't it sound like a magical place? It is. Chocolate City is the new movie in development from director Jean-Claude La Marre that will star Tyson Beckford (hello) and Michael Jai White, and it will be another beautiful addition to the growing stream of stripper movies. That's right — it's a film about a young college student who's at his wit's end and gets pulled into the male stripping world to make a little dough. Beckford will star as an older, more seasoned stripper who feels insecure when all these young guns come in and start stealing the show.
If it sounds similar to Magic Mike, that's because, well, it is and it isn't — there's not much plot extrapolation you can experiment with when you write a stripper movie. But there's one crucial, integral difference: Chocolate City is a black male stripper movie, and even if it's plot was point for point the exact same as Magic Mike's, that differentiation would be enough to set it worlds apart.
Chocolate City is catered to a different audience, explicitly, and it should be; it's exciting that a director of color is making this film starring actors of color. According to Deadline, director LaMarre is specifically targeting the film to urban areas where "African-American women flock to strip clubs." He is taking ownership of a subculture that a white director would not be able to understand, and it's important that a black director will be telling the story.
Chocolate City, which will inevitably be a joyride of eye-candy, is not just a fluff film — LaMarre is pointedly making a film for an audience of people of color. Yes, Magic Mike was enjoyable for the everyman and everywoman, but it didn't have any notable characters of color. Even if Chocolate City doesn't outwardly discuss the nuances of black culture, the fact that it's a film starring primarily African-American men is important.
And we get to see Tyson Beckford as a stripper. Did I mention that?