Kobi Libii‘s satire The American Society of Magical Negroes has been causing tons of discourse online, but what is the film about? And what does the film’s ending mean? Here’s what you need to know.

What is ‘The American Society of Magical Negroes’ about?

The American Society of Magical Negroes stars Justice Smith as Aren, a young artist who lacks confidence in his art and in himself. He’s also afraid of white people; more specifically, he’s afraid of how white people might judge him as a threat despite the fact that he’s harmless. Roger (David Alan Grier) sees something in Aren and recruits him for the organization he belongs to–the aforementioned Society of Magical Negroes.

At the society, Aren learns how magical Negroes are more than just a storytelling trope; they are secret agents whose sole mission is to alleviate white angst and discomfort around Black people. The agents take on their missions in order to keep the wider Black population safe from white violence.

Aren’s first mission is to infiltrate a social media company and help Jason (Drew Tarver), a man who is feeling down on his luck at his job. However, Aren’s mission gets complicated when he falls in love with Jason’s co-worker Lizzie (An-Li Bogan). Aren’s love life becomes a threat not just to his mission but to his life–if he can’t put the mission above his personal wants, he could lose his memory and get kicked out of the society forever.

Even though the stakes are high for Aren, he finally realizes he can’t continue being an agent because of the mental toll placating white feelings has created. He lets loose on Jason about how much he has held in regarding his angst around white society, and he finally tells Lizzie his true feelings for her.

What happens at the end of ‘The American Society of Magical Negroes’?

A film nowadays wouldn’t be complete without a stinger, and The American Society of Magical Negroes doesn’t disappoint. At the end of the film, Lizzie walks into a salon which also happens to be the front for another secret society; this one, however, is for supportive wives and girlfriends.

The ending, among other aspects of the film, has left people confused and annoyed, since the new secret society wasn’t really explained, nor does it make sense with the rest of the plot. Also, since Lizzie is a biracial Asian woman, viewers were left wondering why the society doesn’t address Asian American issues in the same way the Society of Magical Negroes addresses Black American issues.

What critics and viewers have said about the film

Overall, the film has been critiqued by critics and viewers who felt that the film didn’t know what points it was trying to make. The film’s discussion about the “magical Negro” trope wasn’t very well explained, and overall, the film seemed to lose interest in its own idea. But for some viewers, the film gave audiences a different look at a trope that has plagued Hollywood.