Tananarive Due, horror writer and professor of UCLA’s “The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival And The Black Horror Aesthetic,” hung out with Shadow And Act Friday for our Facebook Live Q&A series, Locked Down With ___, to talk about horror and its importance in discussing Black American life and history.
Part of what she talked about was how influential Jordan Peele has been on her current career as a teacher.
“I was teaching a course on Afrofuturism at UCLA…but when I saw Jordan Peele’s Get Out, I thought ‘Oh my gosh, I have to teach an entire course just about Black horror,” she said, adding that Black horror gave her “the lynchpin” to talk about the influence of horror in retelling the Black experience.
The surprise meeting Peele gave to her class was orchestrated entirely online, she revealed.
“I was tweeting about the fact that I was going to teach this course, and before I knew it, reporters were reaching out to me,” she said. “…[T]he story came out in io9 and the very same day, I was followed by Monkeypaw Productions. Within two hours of that, I was getting a message from Jordan Peele himself saying wouldn’t it be fun if I came to surprise your class, and that’s how this great surprise visit was born.”
That meeting led to a working relationship between Peele and Due and her husband Steven Barnes, who now have an upcoming episode on the second season of The Twilight Zone, “A Small Town” starring Damon Wayans Jr.
“You know, when you meet someone like Jordan Peele, and you’re a horror creator, of course you’re going to go in and pitch. So that’s what we did,” she said. “…Last year, we were invited to come in and pitch to Twilight Zone…One of the very last things I was able to do before lockdown was to go out and see some of the filming of the interiors of the film, some of Damon Wayans’ scenes. Just a complete peak experience, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.”
Watch the full Facebook video below.