Watching Till, it’s easy to come out of the film with concern for Jalyn. This is a heavy role, one where even though much of the physical violence is off screen, its specter and aftereffects loom oppressively throughout the film. For Jalyn, the most difficult part of being such an integral part of Till wasn’t actually filming. It was what came afterwards, realizing how similar he and Emmett Till were, how much they had in common.
“Whenever you’re watching a horror movie, [you think] that would never happen to you. But this is one of those things where it’s like, ‘This did happen to somebody and it’s still happening now,’” Jalyn says. “You see all these men, these Black men on the television, on the news, and it’s sad to think about, but going through this, I was like, me and Emmett Till are not unalike. He liked to sing, he liked to dance, he loved his mom, things that I do on a daily basis, so it was that realization for me that was probably the hardest part.”
Thankfully, Jalyn has solid support systems in play. He spent time with his family in Atlanta (where he was born and raised) while they were filming, and found relaxation in gaming, gesturing to the PS5 in the background of our interview. And of course, his mom was his biggest support system: “It was my mom who was there all the time helping me, whether I needed a hug or some reassurance, it was my mom.” Considering Till’s heavy subject matter and the way the film revolves around mother-son relationships, that’s a good support system to have.
Till is a heartbreaking movie, one that urges audiences not to look away from the atrocities of antiblackness and how long it takes to get justice. So, who should see it? According to Jalyn: everyone.
“I don’t think that this is a movie that’s targeted to any community of people. Of course, like our Black community, we need this as people to be shown so that people can wake up, and not even just for the Black community, but for everyone in general, these are things that are happening to everyone right now,” he says. “People being oppressed, people being treated differently, people who wanna enact change but don’t have that push, but this is that push for them. From people all over the world, this is something that will change you in a way that is unique to you, so I don’t think there’s a select audience, I think that everyone should see this.”