Black teen girls are rarely given platforms to tell their stories, but For Ahkeem changes all that.
Over the past several decades, we’ve had glorious films like Pariah, Eve’s Bayou and Love & Basketball among others, that have afforded young Black girls and teens the opportunity to see themselves, and for the various colors of their lives to be shared with the world. However, these types of films are few and far between, especially when it comes to documentary films.
Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest’s For Ahkeem gives a young Black girl from St. Louis, Missouri the opportunity to speak for herself. Daje “Boonie” Shelton is 17 and in her junior year of high school. Kicked out of the St. Louis Public School system, she must contend with her new place at an alternative high school and her sometimes toxic environment on the eve of the 2014 Ferguson unrest.
In the midst of our current turbulent times, we watch Boonie as she struggles to come to terms with her new education path, a sometimes rocky relationship with her mother, and Antonio, the wide-eyed tattooed boy she falls in love with. Boonie realizes that history and statistics are not on her side as a young Black girl from the impoverished inner city. And yet, it does not deter her from clinging to her hopes and dreams despite any obstacles that are dropped in her path.
For Ahkeem is THE millennial documentary on Black girlhood and acts as a home video of the final days of Boonie’s childhood.
For Ahkeem recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. There is no official wide release date yet.