Having examined black involvement in a primarily white music idiom via docu “Afro-Punk,” James Spooner’s first narrative feature offers a similarly rough-hewn character study of a young African-American New Yorker dissatisfied with his role in the indie-rock club scene. Trouble is, “White Lies, Black Sheep’s” sketchy script provides little insight into its protag’s ethnocentric self-awakening. Credible in its peripherals but undernourished as drama, the pic will fare best with black and music-oriented fests, then niche DVD sales.
When scholastic aptitude got him accelerated out of ghetto schools, Ajamu (Ayinde Howell) embraced being different from his background by diving into punk/alt-rock sounds and fashions. Now he’s a party promoter who leaflets for band gigs and other events. Despite his father’s complaints that he looks like a sissy and has lost touch with his racial identity, “A.J.” doesn’t mind–or even much think about — being a rare person-of-color in his chosen scene. Until, that is, he’s dumped by yet another short-attention-spanned white chick, and starts reading Malcolm X. This abrupt turning point is too faintly defined in a pic better at capturing nightlife than developing plot, character or thesping nuance.
— Dennis Harvey