This documentary about the unique challenges that black boys face in the American educational system. More than 70% of African American males are born to single parent homes and 38% are raised in poverty. African American males experience unemployment at a rate up to 5 times greater than that of their white male contemporaries. A combined analysis of the latest statistics on African American and Latino males held by the US Department of Education and Health and Human Services supports Becky Pettit’s findings in her acclaimed book, “Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress”. Just over 2/3 of all African American males who dropout of school before earning a diploma will eventually be imprisoned. Statistics also show that by the fourth grade, black males have assessed whether or not post secondary education is a viable path for them. In fact, it is no secret that new prisons are strategically built and placed in the U.S. based partially upon the literacy scores of third grade minority males.
A Brilliant Boy will follow the lives of 5 young black students and their matriculation through Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys. Statesmen, founded by Shawn Hardnett and Rictor Craig, is a charter school for 4th through 6th grade black and brown boys. The objective of the series is to bring awareness to the unique culture of black boys and their family life as they pursue higher education. This series will also document the political and financial battles of the founders as they struggle to maintain an all black Charter school in Washington, D.C. Currently, Statesmen literacy scores and attendance of its boys are exemplary even though they are forced to share a building with multiple other schools.