Could you imagine living in a world where you had to use separate entrances on public transportation, restrooms, dining establishments (if they would serve people of color at all), restrooms and drinking fountains?
Summer of 1963 in Opelika, Alabama…this was just an ordinary day. Just as it was in many states across America. On a normally hot day, Michael and his little white friend drink from a water fountain. After watching his friend drink for what he deemed an unusually long time, Michael thought the water must taste different on the “white only” side.
This TV One film (which aired on February 7th) starring Lorenz Tate and Sharon Leal is the true story of a seven-year-old black boy (played by twins Amir and Amari O’Neil) who becomes obsessed with the desire to taste water from the “whites only” drinking fountain.
The dialogue is riddled with sayings I have heard my whole life such as, “Never know what day is your last so eat dessert first”, “Never tell anybody your dreams…they’ll just tell you why they can’t come true” and so many more that I was truly tickled to be reminded of my childhood in St. Louis, Missouri.
Michael adventures to drink from the fountain (despite warnings from his family and friends), takes him on a journey where he stumbles upon a KKK meeting, juke joint and arrest by the local police. He finally gets his chance when it comes to his attention the the “whites only” water and the “colored only” water come from the same pipe.
Just goes to show you how innocent and overworked a young mind can be. Shown during the Shorts Series at the Pan African Film Festival, “White Water” is produced by Dwayne Johnson-Cochran, screenplay by Michael C. Brandy/Eric Stein and Directed by Rusty Cundieff. It was truly pleasurable to watch and after a brief Q&A, the audience was treated to a “white water” rap by the twins who portrayed Michael. Check out the trailer and rap below…