No one paid much attention to the man sitting in the back of the class, dressed in a hoodie and baseball cap.
He was sitting in on a class called “The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival and the Black Horror Aesthetic,” taught by Tananarive Due, educator, screenwriter and author of “My Soul to Take,” and other books. Due formerly lived in metro Atlanta. The class was inspired by Jordan Peele’s 2017 hit horror film, “Get Out,” which was also his directorial debut.
Due, who has written numerous other books, shared the experience on her Facebook page:
“So, what happened was: JORDAN PEELE CAME TO MY UCLA CLASS TODAY!!!,” she wrote. “ His production company followed me on Twitter when they saw I was teaching a class called "The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival and the Black Horror Aesthetic."”
“ I reached back out through a DM to let them know we'd love for Jordan Peele to come to class. They were always responsive, but last week they picked a date--but Peele wanted it to be a surprise for the class. So, BOOM: we planned it to the minute (with help from Eboni Shaw in the African-American Studies office). He arrived on campus early (in a hoodie AND baseball cap as a disguise), and we ushered him to a quiet dean's office while I went to start the class as usual. Here was the plan we came up with: five minutes after class started, he snuck into a seat I'd saved in the back row. I had the room dark while I was screening a scene in GET OUT that particularly engages my students (when Rose won't give Chris the keys; we'd talked about this moment quite a bit on Tuesday). They're talking smack to the screen, of course. Then when Steve turned the lights back on, I asked, "What do you think the director is trying to say about the coveting of black bodies?" From the back, still in his hoodie, Peele raised his hand.”
“ I said, "You--in the back." Then he stood up, and THE CLASS WENT WILD. Picture a Def Comedy Jam audience. While he walked to the front of the class, one student left the room to gather herself before she came back in. Then Peele not only conducted class and answered questions, but he took the class to church.”
He's brilliant, and I can hardly describe the joy of hearing him discuss his decisions in this important film in the horror genre I love so much. I'll post more later on the content--there's a lot to unpack--but it was an amazing day. And he had a great time too.”
In fact, Peele later tweeted about his experience. Peele is best known for his Comedy Central series with Keegan Michael Key called "Key & Peele."
His film, “Get Out” used the horror genre to tackle the divisive topic of racism.