The Boys Of Baraka: Need More Not Less

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Regarding Kam Williams’ review of “The Boys Of Baraka,� I didn't get the impression that the film was staged. Personally, I have done research in a lot of areas where you have kids like the ones shown in this movie. They're surrounded by drugs, hopelessness, ignorance, violence and many other hardships. But there's always that ray of sunshine if someone cares enough to do something. There are always kids that can thrive and parents who want more for their kids—even if they think there's nothing left for themselves.

I was more disappointed that with all the Black "professionals" we have in the U.S. that more don't step up and do what a majority group of Whites did. In the back of our minds, we're thinking they're up to something or have something to prove -- and we could be right to a certain point. But the question remains, what are professional and educated Blacks doing? Of course some are doing what needs to be done, but too many don't do a damn thing except leave the communities where they are so needed –or if they didn't grow up in the "hood" never go there to participate— and forget about the people who are there who need help and guidance through sincerity, caring, and love.

Seeing these young Black boys – in “The Boys Of Baraka,â€? who will grow into men is just another reminder of how more Black men, especially, need to start doing right by our young boys who need mentors and people to care about them. Yes, seeing this documentary puts us all on the spot, but these boys and the lives they're living are real—they exist.  And if more people took the time to care just a little, we'd have many more of these boys who see themselves as smart, capable, and having a chance at a life where they can go to college and have a chance at a fulfilling life where they feel confident and proud of themselves.

And while there, no doubt, might be some self-serving motives for many of the Whites behind the film as well as at the Baraka school, if you take them out of the picture, the problem still exists about why more Blacks aren't stepping up and taking the lead to help more of their own people. We've got a lot of educators, and others, who could make a big difference in how our kids are developing—as well as working with the parents to better themselves so they can better help their kids. But they just do nothing.

At least the film ended on a positive note with one student realizing that he can achieve and it's not something that's impossible after all. The location of Africa I thought was not a bad idea. It would have been nice if there was more of a connection made with the historical significance of Africa and its people and the relation to America and African Americans. But that would certainly have required more funding and that's where Black historians and educators could make their mark on a project like this. They would want these Black young men to have an understanding of who they are, where they come from, and all that kind of background factual information, which ideally would lead to empowerment for these kids where they're loving themselves and wanting to learn and grow. So this kind of project would be a magnificent undertaking for any Black person who cared enough to take it on. And, unfortunately, therein lies the problem too much of the time.

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