Knucklehead, Langston Bellows, strives for ‘mental excellence’

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‘Knucklehead’ explores the mind of a center city man, in search of mental equilibrium.

Langston (Knucklehead)

Photos: Courtesy of Urban Movie Channel

Mental health has been a hot button topic in urban communities since Kid Cudi published a letter to his fans on Facebook. The celebrated recording artist told his fans that he was checking into rehabilitation.

“There’s something wrong with you. The smallest thing sets you off. People don’t know how to react to you. Sometimes, my new patients will tell me ‘Dr. Brickstone, I thought my physician was giving me all of the treatments I require. But it’s not uncommon for patients to be undermedicated.'”

In the opening sequence, a man reads an article about mental health, the commonality of mistreatment, and patients possibly being undermedicated if their doctor doesn’t know about the newest developments. As the narration goes on, he cuts up marketing propaganda (or newspapers) to make what seems to be a ransom note. It isn’t. He just rearranged the wording to his liking.

Dr. Brickstone's column (Knucklehead)

In the article called ‘The Power of Two,’ the doctor discusses potential advantages of complementary medications. Shortly after, the inner city man who appears to be in his thirties writes a letter to Dr. Brickstone. His penmanship isn’t great.

The letter discusses his girlfriend named Felicia, their new apartment, and his mother Shiela who takes care of him. He tells the doctor that he needs 20MG of a medicine called Emitride. He has to take it daily so he can stop losing his mind and stop getting into his temper. His name is L.H. Bellows, and he is a voyeur. He enjoys watching people have sex. He calls it “squeaking and peeking.” When his mother yells at him, he has panic attacks. He behaves like a child.

Like within most families in urban communities, mental health is considered an embarrassment. The same idea applies here. L.H., first name Langston, rides with his older brother Julian down a Brooklyn street in Bedford-Stuyvesant when he tells him he has to stop having his ‘syndromes’ because it is embarrassing for both of them. Instead of replying like a normal individual, Langston started to brush his teeth with a red toothbrush he found under the visor. Next, he opens the glove compartment. Then, he finds black lace panties between his seat and the door.

Langston & Julian (Knucklehead)

Langston & Julian (Knucklehead)

Langston’s older brother’s girlfriend finds undergarments that aren’t hers. Quickly, the story line takes a dark twist. Langston, or Lang as her brother calls him, has a panic attack. That night, Langston comes home. He doesn’t say anything to anyone in the house. He walks into the kitchen to make a mayonnaise and pickle sandwich. His mother waits for him to say something about his brother being shot. As she grew patient, she stood up. She walked into the kitchen, threw the sandwich from his hands, took the remnants out of his mouth, and followed him into the bathroom where he tried to hide. As she threw his medication into the toilet and beat him up in the bathroom, he was in anguish.

With his mouth wide open, she banged his head on the bathroom wall and punched him in the face. He cried. The rest of the family listened and did not get her off of him. It seemed to be normal because, in the next scene, he wakes up next to her. His head bruised. His shirt dirty. He snuck out of the house. He made a clean getaway from four adults: Two slept on one couch. Another on the floor and another adult slept on the other couch.

Langston & Shiela (Knucklehead)

He writes his second letter to Dr. Brickstone. Then, he visits a doctor. The doctor denies his prescription requests and tells him that what he’s looking for is not possible.

“As much as we’d like, one cannot mix and match powerful psychotropic medications, à la carte,” the doctor explained. He continued. Notwithstanding, Langston says “I think you’re missing the high side, though because potentially mind straightening effects can occur, too, right?” The doctor then questions Langston’s mental health. He asked if he had Asperger’s Syndrome or pervasive developmental disorder (PDD-NOS).

The doctor denies Langston’s requests. As a result, Langston steals prescription paper from the desk. You can only guess what happens next. And as the cliché goes, most New York City residents are landlocked—mentally. Some New Yorkers or other urbanites do not leave their cities to explore. Langston is a statistic, unfortunately, but it is understandable. He believed there wasn’t a reason to leave Brooklyn until he decided to take a trip to Manhattan to meet Dr. Brickstone.



Read more about ‘Knucklehead’ and the Urban Movie Channel


Knucklehead premieres on BET Founder Bob Johnson’s Urban Movie Channel (UMC) Friday, October 21, 2016. According to a press release, UMC is “the first urban-focused streaming service in North America showcasing [the] quality and exclusive content designed for African-American and urban audiences.” The insightful and intense film stars Emmy award-winning actress Alfre Woodard (“Luke Cage”) and actor Gbenga Akinnagbe (HBO’s “The Wire”).


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