West Indian Archie: A Hustler and a Teacher

West Indian Archie is one of Malcolm’s first mentors and father figures portrayed in the movie.  Malcolm’s father died when he was six and up until when he meets West Indian Archie, he is fatherless.  When we first see Archie, the power that he holds is evident in the scene.  He is in a private booth, dressed nicely with his two right-hand men sitting on either side of him. His name is West Indian Archie, which distinguish’s his ethnic identity form his racial identity, something that some black immigrants do to further distance themselves from their black American counterparts.  It is also indicative of their location as New York holds a substantial West Indian population. His name could also be parallel to his economic status.  Caribbean immigrants tend to come to America with an economic goal, meaning Archie’s success could be a result of this ideology.  Archie’s power derives from his money, his status, and his rep.  When Spike first introduces us to them, we never see Archie stand up, and the interactionScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.22.46 PM is filmed mostly in close-ups.  This makes it so that the viewer cannot see the other  when one is speaking, we are forced to see only that face. I think it gives Spike more control as the director; he controls where our attention goes. From their first interaction, we begin to see how driven Malcolm can be (he is a Leo, after all), and how badly he wants some mode of upward mobility, even in the form of gambling. We also see a foreshadowing of Malcolm’s relationship with Elijah Muhammad, where West Indian Archie teaches and guides Malcolm, but as as soon as the student seemingly outdoes the teacher, the relationship goes sour. 

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