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Dallas filmmaker Justin Rhodes revitalizes Black storytelling in upcoming post-apocalyptic film

Black man wearing black nearly medieval attire walks in middle of crowd of Black people of various skin tones also wearing black clothing
Jairo Chacon and Dioh Valentine
A photo still of filmmaker and protagonist Justin Rhodes from upcoming film, "King of Dallas."

Dallas filmmaker Justin Rhodes explores Black storytelling while omitting Black trauma in an upcoming science fiction film.

If Atlanta has "The Walking Dead," New York City has "I Am Legend," and Los Angeles has "Planet of the Apes," where does that leave Dallas in the dystopian genre? Justin Rhodes' upcoming film, "King of Dallas," seeks to cement the city's place in post-apocalyptic cinema with a focus on Black storytelling.

The film fast-forwards to Dallas in the year 2097. The conflict is colorism within the melanated population now-remaining in the dystopian city.

Rhodes aims to share the Black experience in a way that is empowering. He says that storytelling can be transformative.

"Look at 'Black Panther,'" Rhodes said. "That was a film that changed culture."

Marvel's "Black Panther," directed by Ryan Coogler, recently released the film's sequel, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

Rhodes takes inspiration from the science fiction and thriller genres and describes King of Dallas as "a post-apocalyptic Black Panther."

"After (seeing) 'Black Panther,' we started looking at our films in a different light, even if it was subconsciously," Rhodes said. "Once we saw that film, it's imbedded in every Black person, but specifically every Black filmmaker's DNA."

Rhodes wants the audience to walk away from his upcoming film entertained but also educated. "King of Dallas" is expected to be released in 2023.

Got a tip? Email Brittany Stubblefield-Engram at

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Brittany Stubblefield-Engram is the Digital Engagement Fellow for Arts Access. She previously served as the Marjorie Welch Fitts Louis Fellow for the KERA newsroom. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, she received her Bachelors of Applied Arts and Sciences from the University of North Texas at Dallas. She is a Hip-Hop scholar and prior to her trajectory into journalism, Brittany worked in non-profit management.