Black teenage mothers are still some of the most misrepresented and stereotyped people in the U.S., and those negative images have only been perpetuated on the big screen. Which makes a documentary like FOR AHKEEM that much more intriguing as it reportedly tells the story of a 17-year-old St. Louis girl who's forced to navigate her own humanity as a young black woman coming into her adulthood and early motherhood during the Black Lives Matter movement and in the aftermath of 18-year-old fellow Missourian Michael Brown's senseless murder at the hands of police.
Making its U.S. premiere this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, FOR AHKEEM is propelled by main character Daje Shelton's singular goal to graduate high school, an accomplishment too many take for granted. Here's a little more about the film:
From award-winning directors Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest, FOR AHKEEM is the moving portrait of 17-year-old Daje Shelton, a Black girl in North St. Louis, as she navigates the many challenges of growing up in inner city America with one goal: to graduate high school.
Filmed over a three year period, we watch as Daje struggles against countless obstacles to obtain her high school diploma, her only hope of a better future, while navigating life as a teenager in America. The camera quietly follows her as she experiences her first love and explores a challenging new role as a teen mother. Despite the daily struggle to maintain focus in school and graduate, Daje and her family show the strength, resilience, and determination it takes to survive.
Watch the trailer: