Now You’re In The Sunken Place


Jordan Peele shares the awe-inspiring response he received from the public to his film, Get Out.

Written by JORDAN PEELE
Portraits by TOM KELLER

January 2018

I began conceiving the film in “post-racial America.” Barack Obama had just been elected the first black president. In that monumental moment of hope and change we chose to wrap ourselves up cozily in a blanket of collective denial. We chose to not see the race monster even when it was staring us in the face; we didn’t discuss it; we stopped trying to fight it. After centuries of grappling with it, we woke up that morning and pretended that the monster was gone. Eight years later, in an America no one could have predicted, the race monster has ripped that blanket off and shown us all its ugly teeth. Shortly after ‘Get Out’ premiered, I went on Instagram to find that the film had inspired one young woman to create her own painting of the film’s ‘Sunken Place’ (a metaphor for the marginalization of black people). She had uploaded and “tagged” me so I could see her gorgeous creation.

We chose to not see the race monster even when it was staring us in the face; we didn’t discuss it; we stopped trying to fight it.

I was blown away by the fact that she had connected to this movie enough to express her own pain so elegantly...and this was just the beginning. The next day when I looked at Instagram, there was more art from more people. This continued the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. Some visual; some prose; some music. There is something so awe-inspiring about thousands of people interweaving their own talents, fears and dreams onto the film that I thought would never get made. Months later I am still getting sent art every day from strangers of all races, creed and genders. What began as a singular tale of my own fear turned into something greater; a chorus who recognized their own fears and responded; all speaking back to the shared experience. If the film is me using my voice, then this book celebrates the many voices shared with me.*

*Excerpt and art from the book, Now You’re In The Sunken Place.

Art by Shawn Perkins(left), Edgar M. Mojica (right)

Art by Justin Wadlington

Art by Alexus Parker

Art by Sarah Duarte

Art by Shawn Perkins (left), Edgar M. Mojica (right)

Art by Tony Rodriguez (left), Robert Dunbar (right)

Art by Jalexia Stoutmyre (left), Orah Fields (right)