Sweat Equity: Merecedes Williams is ready for her closeup
The first row of the balcony at an advance screening for “Harriet” at AMC Waterfront 22 in Homestead was filled with high school students from Allderdice, laughing and enjoying the evening out.
The laughter settled down once the movie started and the life of 19th-century abolitionist Harriet Tubman unfurled on the screen. They were absorbing the re-creation of a world they had missed by more than 160 years. Still, there was no denying the parts that resonated.
Merecedes J. Williams, aka Movie Scene Queen, looks forward to that moment of recognition. The social media project assistant for Pittsburgh Public Schools is also the movie critic for The New Pittsburgh Courier.
It was in her capacity as the Courier’s movie critic with access to free advance screenings that it occurred to Ms. Williams to make that opportunity available to Pittsburgh Public School students when it comes to films with educational value.
With the mission of expanding awareness of quality films for young people, Ms. Williams created the Movie Scene Queen entertainment blog seven years ago. Her goal then — as now — is to engage young people in discussions of films and to make free passes available to those in the Pittsburgh Public Schools who want to attend advance screenings.
On evenings when she is supervising a dozen or so students at a screening, Ms. Williams is also thinking about how to approach the movie critically and fairly as a reviewer. She’s both hostess and critic on those occasions, a burden she happily accepts many years into the gig.