BASN Movie Review: For Our Sons

By Darius Thompson
Updated: February 2, 2010

CHICAGO — Recently, I had the privilege of attending a screening of a documentary entitled, For Our Sons.

It is a film that takes as its subject the alarming statistic that 1 in 3 male Black babies born between 2000 and 2010 will spend some time in prison during their lifetime.

As I sat and watched this film with my son in a community center in New York City, I could not help but feel proud of who my grandfather was, who I am and what my son can become.

Not only can this film inspire, I believe it can save some of our young men and women who might be at risk of becoming another statistic. It is my suggestion that every Black person see this inspiring film.

The film takes narrative excerpts from the lives of 19 Black men from different walks of life, with various experiences, diverse religious views and belief systems who together tell a meaningful story of resilience, mental toughness and commitment.

For Our Sons is a real and undeniable truth that millions of Black men have faced and experienced in our journey to become men in this country. It gives a clear picture of where we have been and what the possibilities can be for our young people, some of whom have lost hope.

I witnessed this loss of hope first hand during the question and answer period portion of the program. After the film ended, 40 plus people gave an ovation. Afterwards, various audience members, young and not so young stood up and asked the film maker questions.

For ten minutes or so, a positive exchange of dialogue took place. Then a young man, in his teens, who was obviously unmoved, stood up and asked with pure skepticism, “Do you really think it’s possible to turn things around? I mean, come on now. Let’s be real.”

The film maker, Mr. Eric McKay’s response was, “If you would have told me in January 2008, that in 2009 we would have a Black President, that Michael Jackson would be gone and that Tiger Woods would be involved in a sex scandal, I would ve told you, you were out of your mind.”

“Anything can be changed overnight. We have to decide to change it. We have to stop talking about Obama and do what Obama did. Become Community Organizers, starting with our families. And it might sound corny, but instead of getting teary eyed singing, Man In the Mirror and talking about how much we miss Michael.”

“Why not really look at ourselves and make the changes that we know we need to make within ourselves? If we don t do that, then no, things won’t change. If we do, things will definitely change. We have to be the ones who step up in our homes, families and communities. No one else will do it. We all have to do our part.”

He followed that by, “The question that I have for you young man is this, Are you doing your part?”

The teenager was baffled, “Doing my part?”

“Yes, do you plan on staying out of trouble, graduating from HS, going to college, graduating from college, doing well for yourself and after you’ve done well for yourself, come back and help a young person from the community you came from or one similar to yours?”

The young man smirked uncomfortably, shrugged his shoulders and said at a very low volume, “Yes.”

Mr. McKay challenged him, “I want to hear you say, I’m going to do my part.”

The young man said softly, “I’m gonna do my part.”

McKay challenged him again, I can t hear you. You re going to have to say that again.

The young man said it again, this time a little louder.

By the time it was over, not only was the young man exclaiming that he would do his part, but the entire room was shouting it.

I happened to agree with the film maker. In 2008, I would have never believed that in 2009 we would have a Black President, Michael Jackson would no longer be with us or that Tiger Gate would become a new term.

Things can change.

Tiger Woods can regain his stature and we can decrease the percentage of young Black men going to prison. The young men of tomorrow who are babies today. You can t tell me a three year old won t listen or can not be taught. You can t tell me that a six or 10 year old won t either. We have to do our part.

That is what I intend to do, my part.

In 2010, throughout Black History Month and thereafter; as well as all of the Men s Day celebrations that will soon go on in our churches across the country, I am imploring everyone to get this film and watch it.

Watch it with your family, with your friends and your community. It would be a mistake to not share this gem of a film with Black students, Black families and the faithful. Every HBCU and Black College Student Union should show this film.

Every African American organization who wants to uplift our young men and women and even our older men and women should watch For Our Sons. You will only benefit from the experience.

Let’s all do our part.

NOTE: For Our Sons is available on DVD free of charge (Just pay for shipping & handling) at www.4oursons.com