‘Love al­ways wins,’ Hen­son says of role in ‘Best of En­e­mies’

The Buffalo News - - WEATHER -

groups in a sin­gle room was through a charette. It was a con­cept that was used mostly in busi­ness cir­cles to re­solve con­flicts in a sys­tem­atic way.

Bill Rid­dick, a black man and con­sul­tant, came up with a way to use the charette to deal with school in­te­gra­tion. Rid­dick, who is still alive, showed up on set in 2017 as an adviser. “He was in­stru­men­tal in mak­ing sure the ar­gu­ments we had in the film were ac­cu­rate,” said Do­minique Tel­son, a co-ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer.

Tel­son said Rid­dick found both Ann and C.P. in­suf­fer­able at first. One of the fun­ni­est scenes was when Rid­dick forced blacks and whites to sit to­gether dur­ing lunch and talk. Ann and C.P. acted like an­gry el­e­men­tary school­child­ren. But as the char­ac­ters got to know each other, their re­la­tion­ship be­came a friend­ship.

“The key is some­thing we can still use to­day, which is you have to stop fight­ing and start lis­ten­ing for once,” said Tel­son. “That’s the goal of the charette. He didn’t choose sides. He just wanted both sides to talk and sometimes you can get a great out­come.”

Hen­son said so­cial me­dia is now just the op­po­site: peo­ple hurl­ing in­sults at each other, digging in their heels rather than seek­ing com­mon ground. “I think the world needs a big charette,” Hen­son said. “What I learned from Ann is change is worth fight­ing for and you must be­come the change you want to see.”

Once Ann stopped fight­ing with C.P., “when she tapped into her Chris­tian­ity and loved him with the love of God un­con­di­tional and all in­clu­sive, that’s how she was able to get him to change.”

Hen­son hopes the film sends a pos­i­tive mes­sage that “love al­ways wins. Hate never does. Hate’s ob­jec­tive is to de­stroy. If hate wins, mankind is de­stroyed. Love will keep us alive. It means lov­ing the en­emy.”

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