This is a great clip from Ridley Scott’s 2007 American Gangster. The context is that Detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) and Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) have an exchange about their metaphorical weight when it comes to lobbying their respective cases in front of a jury in court; Roberts has witnesses, supply chains, robbery reports, while Lucas has his witnesses, celebrity friends, and the backing of Harlem at large. Roberts then informs him that beyond their respective witnesses back-and-forth, he has the fictional Mafia ‘Mazzano’ crime family; Roberts says, “Because apart from the fact they hate you personally, they hate what you represent.” Lucas responds, “I don’t represent nothing but Frank Lucas.” To which Roberts hints at Lucas’ influential entrepreneurism and the impacts of race in 1960s/70s America, “You sure? Black business man like you? You represent progress. The kind of progress that’s gonna see them lose a lot of money. With you out of the way, everything can return to normal.”
This post was originally published March 4, 2008 @ 21:29; it has since been updated.