You know there are times when old Tyrone actually *doesn't* hear about things first (shocking as that may be, y'all) and that I actually have to depend on my world renowned network to bring you the information you need to know. In this case, y'all need to be thankful to Northside 'Betty Crocka Smack Talka' Shorty who happened upon the details of a necessary documentary while spinning her radio dial and accidently landing on NPR…
The documentary is called The Boys of Baraka and focuses on a program in Baltimore that annually selected 20 black male teens to attend the Baraka School - an alternative school located Kenyan bush country (now closed). The program's primary focus was to show the teens an alternative lifestyle completely opposite from the buck wild, drug fueled anarchy ruling B'more's inner city streets - an environment that boasts the shameful statistic of an 80% high school dropout rate among B'more's black boys. 50% of that crew ends up doing a bid in prison copping three hots and cot on the state's dime. Think about those numbers, y'all and tell me this isn't a story that needs to be told (or a program that needs to be continued...).
So while Spike Lee, Ice Cube, the Wayans brothers, the Hudlin brothers, Oprah (is there an end to this list?) are going mainstream , Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, two civic minded Northside shortys decided to do just that. Check out the trailer to get a feel for what to expect. Your next challenge will be to try and find this bad boy in any movie theater that's in your area (particularly since it got snubbed by the Oscars in the Best Documentary category - now to be fair March of the Penguins *was* an amazing piece of film making but Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room? Man, you can check that out live during the Ken Lay/Jeff Skilling trial on Court TV! Okay - that trailer looks pretty good too, but you get my point...). It did receive critical notice at the South by Southwest Film Festival but y'all can tell by that title it ain't Sundance.
Anyway, the blog Cinematical did a nice interview with Rachel Grady during which old girl dropped this among her many tight quotes:
"For Americans – for me – it was just so strange that children from the richest country in the world were going to the poorest country on earth to get an education. It was just extremely ironic."
Whoa - didn't hear that one in the State of the Union address! Oh well - there's always next year to address social ills like these. For those of you unfamiliar with how uninviting the *inner city* (not B'more's *Inner Harbor* - that joint is off the cheezy, y'all - particularly for you sea food freaks out there…) streets of B'more are, you can check them out from the safety of your couch by peeping old shows of that excellent HBO series 'The Corner'. That joint will show you what hard living is all about, jack and how the mean streets can even turn a fine shorty like Khandi Alexander (check her out in CSI: Miami now, y'all) into a Halle Berry, Jungle Fever crackhead. It ain't pretty, y'all. It ain't pretty.
So look for that joint at a theater nowhere close to you. I'll close with another timely quote from a reviewer on Rottentomatoes.com and it goes a little something like this:
"If American TV journalism were doing its job, reportage such as this would be regularly playing on major networks instead of limited runs at art house theaters."
-- Jurgen Fauth, ABOUT.COM
Amen, home skillet. Amen. I guess y'all will just have to stick with me to get your sideways dose of the actual factuals (and hope NS Shorty keeps channel hopping during her commute!). Good lookin' out, NS Shorty!