The True Story Behind The Candyman Movie

Robert Taylor homes
Leslie Taylor-Grover
October 13, 2020

 Ruthie Mae McCoy had a credibility problem. Even though she preferred to just be left alone, the folks in the blighted, dangerous housing projects where she lived didn’t trust her. Why not?

She would curse at folks passing by, and often muttered to herself. So when she heard voices in the bathroom wall behind her medicine cabinet, she knew something wasn’t right. She needed help, but would the authorities trust her?

No. She was Black, poor, and had been institutionalized. The police did not want to be responsible for kicking down doors, and the security guards didn’t want to have to make repairs. So when she called 911, no one came. So did she get help?

She didn’t. It wasn’t until several other people called, after hearing gunshots, that the police arrived and a carpenter unscrewed her door. It was too late, however – she was already decomposing. 

But how did this tragic murder inspire a film?

After reading her story in the newspaper, filmmakers used her story to inspire Candyman – a film in which the title character emerges through bathroom mirrors to murder his victims. 

The real horror? Housing is one of the most important determinants of lifespan. We must invest in our own spaces and in our own well-being. Black spaces matter!

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