‘The Inspection’ highlights a gay Black Marine’s experience under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

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By Tat Bellamy-Walker, NBC News

Elegance Bratton’s new film, “The Inspection,” stars Jeremy Pope as a gay Black Marine and Gabrielle Union as his homophobic mother.

Jeremy Pope in “The Inspection.” (A24)

Multihyphenate filmmaker Elegance Bratton said his latest project, “The Inspection,” about a gay homeless Black man who joins the Marines, hits especially close to home after he was kicked out as a teenager for being gay and spent a decade living on the streets. 

“I said a prayer 20 years ago, that my life would turn from survival to thriving,” Bratton said. “I had no idea in that moment that God had said yes.” 

After years of homelessness, Bratton said joining the Marines helped him find a sense of purpose. Now, the director hopes “The Inspection,” which is set to be released in theaters Friday, can inspire others who feel overlooked in their lives. 

“I wanted to make a film that could remind those folks that you matter, that you have within you the light to triumph over great adversity,” Bratton said. 

The theatrical release comes after the project appeared last month at New York’s premier LGBTQ film festival, NewFest. The film, which is loosely based on Bratton’s life, focuses on the challenges the main character, Ellis French, experiences as a young gay Black man during the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” era. The policy, which was in effect between 1994 and 2011, banned gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in the armed forces. The project features Emmy-nominated actor Jeremy Pope as Ellis French, Gabrielle Union as French’s mother and Raúl Castillo as drill sergeant Rosales.

Check out the full article.

The first Black Marine recruits recently received honors.

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