“I really, really understand”: Filmmaker Kobi Libii addresses The American Society of Magical Negroes controversy in a new interview

Filmmaker Kobi Libii recently opened up about the controversy regarding his recent movie (Image via Instagram / kobilibii)
Filmmaker Kobi Libii recently opened up about the controversy regarding his recent movie (Image via Instagram / kobilibii)

The American Society of Magical Negroes, the satirical film created by Kobi Libii, deals with the theme of Black people suppressing their emotions and needs as they work to help White people. However, it drew flak when the trailer was dropped and a character could be seen referring to White people as "the most dangerous animal on the planet."

Following that, the director was interviewed by Variety on January 19, where he talked about the movie, the themes, and the controversy surrounding it.

In the interview, that was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday, March 21, Libii discussed how the original plot was motivated by his personal experiences as a Black man in America and his dissatisfaction with how Black people are portrayed in Hollywood.

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Libii admitted that he had anticipated controversy surrounding the film, which was released on March 15. He further said that the movie has used the theme of "magical negro," a cinematic device in which Black characters are created to provide support for White heroes who lack inner lives, and criticized it.

During a recent interview with Variety, he said:

“I made a movie about 'magical negroes.' I also have a deep suspicion of Hollywood. I really, really understand being a Black person and seeing a trailer for a film and being deeply suspicious that there’s some more racist bullsh*t is coming down the pike.”

Filmmaker Kobi Libii anticipated that the movie would be controversial

The debut feature film from writer-director Kobi Libii, titled The American Society of Magical Negroes, was released on March 15 and is about a mysterious community of Black individuals who possess superpowers. However, unlike some African-American superheroes, this organization doesn't battle criminals or fight villains.

It is a 2024 American comedy film starring Justice Smith as a young Black man who joins a secret society of magical African-Americans dedicated to improving the lives of white people. The society is a magical one where Black wizards utilize their abilities to manipulate White people into not harming Black people.

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Following the film's opening weekend at the box office, the director of the movie defended the controversial premise of the picture in a recent interview. A common complaint on social media, particularly on X, about the movie is that the movie being promoted is not what people were expecting it to be, and there is a broad misinterpretation of what "magical negro" actually means.

In a recent Variety interview, he stated:

“I was just told that this was a great movie, even though Black people are doing this.”

Kobi Libii went on to say that he is challenging that kind of portrayal of African-Americans and urging viewers to consider the ways racism affects the brains, as well as its subtler aspects, which are harder to identify and expose. Kobi Libii further said:

“The subject matter I’m playing with is really sensitive and raw, and people have such strong, visceral feelings about it.”
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He then explained:

“I think means that we’re pointed in the right direction in terms of what we should be talking about. I’m genuinely excited for people to bring that same passion and political conviction into what I think is the more sophisticated and intricate and nuanced conversation that the full film is.”

He went on to say that he harbors strong misgivings about Hollywood, hence directed the film on "magical negroes."


Even though the nature of the controversy about the movie hasn't been made clear yet, it received a 2.4 out of 10 rating on IMDb. It further received tons of negative reviews from the audiences.

One user said,

"Interesting concept but fails to deliver it uniquely and creatively."

Another one called it "White discomfort."

On the other hand, Kobi Libii didn’t say anything further regarding the movie or the controversy surrounding it.

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