Filmmaker Darnell Singleton presents his locally produced labor of love, Super Brotha

Look, up in the sky! It's a conk! It's a high-top fade! It's Super Brotha!

Relax and put down that pick with the black-fist handle, citizen. Super Brotha has emerged from the mild environs of University City to save the day for the tonsorially troubled, once and for all.

Filmmaker Darnell Singleton presents the hairy adventures of a new superhero and the street battle for a good-lookin' 'fro waged by the nappier denizens of the Gateway region when he premieres his new movie, Super Brotha, this week at Clayton's classy Esquire Theatre.

Producer/director Singleton co-wrote the film with Eric Frazier. The convoluted story is based loosely -- very loosely -- on the life of local entrepreneur Russ Little Sr.

See if you can follow this plot: A.F. Ro's beauty-supply store, Afro World, is going under. In a desperate ploy to make some money, Ro engages the services of a pair of nutty professors, who manage to invent a revolutionary new "Afro spritz" called Fro Glo, capable of transforming the nappiest of scalps into a perfectly domed 'fro.

Fro Glo becomes a sensation, even enabling Ro to receive the key to the city from former St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. (making his acting debut -- his first acknowledged performance, that is).

Then, an explosion in the Fro Glo laboratory of Afro World grants superpowers to janitor Harry Comb. He gains the ability "to flick napps and break glass, throw picks and have them boomerang back, and hold his finger to your temple and mysteriously siphon information from your mind." Whoa! Harry's powers are urgently needed to defeat the evil Mr. Big Hair, Ro's crosstown rival, who has effectively developed an "anti-spritz" to counteract the magical Fro-Glo and flatten the competition. The scene is set for an Afro-smooshing beatdown.

Will Mayor Bosley be sporting an oversized black-sun Afro? Or perhaps an absurdly tall high-top, à la James Earl Jones in Robert Townsend's Meteor Man? In the words of Jheri Curl, from Townsend's classic Hollywood Shuffle, "My activator! Give me my activator!"

The one-night-only showing of Super Brotha, including door prizes and a raffle for a Bahamas cruise, begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, at the Esquire Theatre, 6706 Clayton Rd.

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