Toronto True Crime Film Festival: My Name Is Myeisha

The victim of a police shooting muses over her life, using hip-hop, spoken word poetry, and dance in My Name in Myeisha. After getting a flat tire while out with cousin Roni (Dominique Toney) and friend Kai (Dee Dee Stephens), 19 year old Myeisha (Rhaechyl Walker) opts to stay with the car while her friends get help. Later, when Myeisha is found unconscious in the car, the police are called and one of them open fires when he is shocked by a sound. At the moment of her death, Myeisha becomes the rapping Greek chorus to her own tragedy, assisted by a multi-character beatboxer (John Merchant).

My Name is Myeisha is a film adaptation of the internationally acclaimed play Dreamscape, which in turn is inspired by the 1998 police shooting of California teen Tyisha Miller. The film can be described, for lack of a better description, as a hip-hop musical, with bulk of the plot having Myeisha narrating her story using a mix of hip-hop and spoken word poetry. Using the location of each of her 12 gunshot wounds as a jumping off point, Myeisha tells her story of being a black girl in “the I.E.,” whose life is cut all too short.

Even though My Name is Myeisha is based on a case from two decades ago, it is still a very timely story, as there are still cases of police brutality against African Americans. Despite the use of humour in her narration, Myeisha makes sure to emphasize to the audience that this is “not one of those feel good shows.” In fact, it is the very light-hearted tone of My Name is Myeisha that helps the very serious themes of the story to resonate with the audience. In fact, I would argue that My Name is Myeisha greatly demonstrates why “Black Lives Matter.”

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).