Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

At the end of their final Collection, the class of 2024 streamed onstage for a final dance, and shouts of SEN-IORS!
Class of 2024's Last Collection [Brief & Video]
With heartfelt speeches and whole-class choreography, seniors said farewell to their teachers and underclassmen.
Members of Friends Schools class of 2025 pose for a photo before their first prom.
Photos, Dancing, Memories - and Don't Forget the Food [Brief]
Missed prom? A Quill correspondent and first-time attendee recaps everything you need to know.
Friends juniors prepare for the 2023 Homecoming dance.
'Back to the Future' at Friends School [Brief]
Homecoming 2023 threw students from the '80s to the future, as DJ Ok got everyone on their feet, and even faculty busted a move.
Fans line up for snowballs from a Kona Ice truck during a break in the rain on Scarlet and Grey day.
Scarlet & Grey Day Hits the Quarter Century Mark [Brief]
On a recent rainy Saturday, Park and Friends School sports teams faced off in a series of contests, cheered on by hundreds of soggy fans.
On the final day of Spirit Week, seniors dressed in Friends School colors - scarlet and grey - for the annual Pep Rally.
A Silly, Spirited Week [Brief]
Leading up to Rivalry Day, students dressed up to show their school spirit - and sense of humor.
A senior accesses the Common App landing page for the University of Delaware. As college deadlines approach, the class of 24 is sleepy and stresses.
Seniors Feel College Pressure as Early Deadlines Approach [Brief]
The mood in senior hall is tense, as sleep-starved teens scramble to finish their essays - along with a heavy load of mid-semester schoolwork.
The Morgan State University Marching Band processes down the Friends School driveway, lined with cheering crowds of students, from preschoolers to 12th graders.
In a Year of Tragedy, Morgan Band Concert a Particular Gift [Brief]
Friends students expressed gratitude for the marching band's energetic performance - especially so soon after a shooting on the Morgan State University campus injured five students.
In Orioles fan and 12th grade dean Josh Carlins office, Friends memorabilia and a recent Baltimore Sun front page celebrating the teams winning season have pride of place.
Fans Dress for MLB Success on Friends' 'Orange Thursday' [Brief]
Led this season by an exciting core of young, up-and-coming stars, the Orioles have won back the hearts of many Friends School fans.
Award-winning novelist Jenny Offill visits the 10th grade English class of Rob Traviesso - her own former student.
Upper School Author Visit Brings Reunion [Brief]
Novelist Jenny Offill spent a day on campus meeting with students at the invitation of her own former student - English teacher Rob Travieso.
Senior Maeve Reichert, head of the literary magazine Mock Turtle, talks to potential 9th grade recruits during the 2023 clubs fair.
Highlights From Upper School Clubs Fair [Brief]
Dozens of clubs showed their stuff and courted new members at the high-energy, candy-fueled gathering on the quad.

‘They Cloned Tyrone’ Makes You Laugh – And Think [Review]

Harking back to real moments in US history when the government has experimented on Black communities, the sci-fi film is a great romp – and one I’m still thinking about months later.
Courtesy of Parrish Lewis / Netflix
A still from the 2023 film They Cloned Tyrone.

Juel Taylor’s summer 2023 film, They Cloned Tyrone, was an instant sci-fi classic for the Black community. In it, co-stars John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, and Teyonah Parris uncover and break through the social manipulation and wrongdoings of the American government in black neighborhoods.

The hilarious – but chillingly possible – idea of emotion-manipulating products and cloning introduced into African-American communities is almost one-of-a-kind in film. Other contemporary sci-fi movies that star black people in black communities, like See You Yesterday (2019) and Sorry To Bother You (2018), deal with the supernatural and time travel.

Because They Cloned Tyrone is unique in its realistic premise, the movie set a standard for future politically aware but exciting and representative movies in the black community, of a kind that haven’t been seen before.

Black representation in media and entertainment has historically been prejudiced and reinforced stereotypes. But recent generations of black-directed and -acted films and television shows have changed the mindsets of younger generations about black people and black life in general.

They Cloned Tyrone is a particularly impactful example of this. It’s a display of science fiction, adventure, heroism, and self-discovery by lovable black characters.

The movie also serves as a conversation piece about the legitimacy and safety of products people use every day. While it may be crude and unsuitable for younger audiences, it gets viewers thinking about the reality – but also the imagination – of their world.

Black representation in sci-fi as a genre has also historically been limited. Star John Boyega has co-starred in the Star Wars series, and his involvement in the film is crucial, as he shows young black people that they have representation in the world of science fiction. 

They Cloned Tyrone and its plot allude to the US government’s experimentation on black people in black communities. This idea doesn’t come out of left field. In the past, the US has used black people as lab rats, notoriously in the Tuskegee experiments in the 1930s, and in the now-infamous story here in Baltimore of Henrietta Lacks.

They Cloned Tyrone and its plot allude to the US government’s experimentation on black people in black communities. This idea doesn’t come out of left field.

The film approaches these sometimes sensitive and uncomfortable references with exaggeration and humor. This approach allows people to enjoy film while considering the validity of the context between the lines. 

The film also explores more societal norms within black communities. The city or town is never identified specifically in the movie, but the themes and activities of the community – from barbershop and salon culture to megachurch services – could be applied to almost every predominantly black neighborhood. Even through the lens of comedy, they still provoke thoughts about the similarity of black life nationwide.

The movie’s success is also a credit to Erykah Badu’s 1997 song “Tyrone.” The slow, seductive melody serves as the anthem for the movie. The incorporation of the tune allows for the movie’s time period to be ambiguous, but remain before the birth of the internet.

The film nevertheless utilizes its own original soundtrack, accompanied by many other well-known songs of its era. These include “I’m goin’ down” by Mary J. Blige, and “Don’t stop ‘til you get enough” by Michael Jackson. Music serves as a passageway in the movie, and allows the viewer to transport into the world and discoveries along with the characters.

All things considered, They Cloned Tyrone is a great addition to the collection of complex and unique movies catered to the black community. However subtly, They Cloned Tyrone changed my point of view of the government’s relationship with predominantly black communities. The film’s appeal is undeniable, its sentimental moments are the most tender, yet its satirical and lighthearted moments feel almost personal. The movie was the highlight of my summer, filled with humor, speculation, and community. It deserves all its praise.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Mitchell Jackson
Mitchell Jackson, Contributor
Mitchell, class of '26, loves studying history and art. At Friends, he participates in Debate Club, student Senate, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work. In his free time, he loves to cook and watch movies.
Donate to The Quaker Quill

Comments (0)

All comments will be approved by Quill editors. Comments containing inappropriate language will not be approved.
All The Quaker Quill Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *