The coming-of-age-drama Beats has a special meaning to the film’s director, Chris Robinson.
The Netflix film follows August, played by Khalil Everage, a teenage musical prodigy with agoraphobia— an anxiety disorder where the person avoids places that might cause them to feel panicked, trapped, helpless or embarrassed. August later develops an unlikely friendship with Romelo, a former manger-turned-high school security guard played by Anthony Anderson.
Robinson tells ABC Radio why he felt a special connection to the project.
“The script really piqued my interest,” Robinson says. “It has to do with mental health and anxiety. My son went through that and just me understanding it as a young father. I didn’t really understand it. So as he got older, I started to really listen to him.”
Robinson continues: “And when I read this in the script and it just really hit home. And I think for our community and our culture, those conversations need to happen.”
Aside from his own personal connection, Robinson explains that Beats also pays homage to Chicago’s music scene as well as highlights an important, and not often shared, narrative.
“It’s about music, it’s about a relationship between a young man and his friends and how it changes…all set in South Side Chicago,” he says. “So it’s a great movie, but I think at the same time it really touches on things that are real.”
Beats, also starring Dave East, Dreezy and Uzo Aduba, is now streaming on Netflix.