Nicole Franklin decided that it was time that young Black males had a chance to communicate their feelings about love. So she headed to one of the most unloving cities in the U.S. – Camden, N.J. a crime-ridden city just outside of Philadelphia. While there she filmed boys 9-13 years old to ask them questions that they don’t usually get asked – about their feelings, their emotions and most of all about who they love, who loves them and if and how they see their futures.
Although the crew was attacked the first day they shot in Camden, they forged, on giving little Black boys a chance for a voice, something they are denied in most of our culture, from fiction to entertainment.
Little Brother is expected to be a 10-part series four years in the making. Shoots have already taken place in Chicago, IL, St. Petersburg, FL and Muskogee, OK. 50 small screenings have already taken place around the country, mostly for fraternities and churches. Chapters 5 and 6 will be shot in Greenwich, CN, and Los Angeles this month. The short films Parts 1-3 are available for purchase through Third World Newsreel for schools and selected groups. (Rentals and community pricing is also available.)
Franklin told Colorlines.com, who reported the story, that she wanted to show the tender side of young males who are often viewed as adults before their time.
“In the media we see black teens but you gotta get there first, right? And I knew that around age 10, something was happening to black boys—and we weren’t seeing anything on it. It’s popular to hear that when young black boys enter the 4th grade that’s when “they” start planning how many prison beds to account for.
I don’t know who said that but what I do know is that Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu has said that the 4th grade is when boys emotionally drop out of school. Also, as you’re approaching the teen years and puberty, it’s a very special time and I thought that it would be cool to learn about when boys learn about their emotional, nurturing sides. Our approach is very direct. We focus on their emotional side, love, their love lives and what they project them to be. They teach us a lot.”
Part 4 will be released soon.