Tonight, the Documentary channel will be airing a poignant film by  Nicole Franklin and Jasmin Tiggett called “Little Brother: Things Fall Apart.”

The film project aims to follow several young Black boys throughout the decade to see how they cope in various urban environments while facing mounting odds.

The filmmakers describe “Little Brother” as:

A series of 15-minute documentary films dedicated to giving Black boys a unique voice. Filmmakers NICOLE FRANKLIN and JASMIN TIGGETT take an annual look at Black boys as young as nine years old for a one-on-one conversation demystifying what society tends to rob them of: LOVE.

Little Brother: Things Fall Apart is the first installment in the series. Set in Camden, New Jersey, well-known as one of the nation’s most dangerous cities, the film takes a look at boys growing up amongst extreme violence, poverty and crime, and explores their feelings on love and relationships set against impossible odds.

The first part of the documentary airs tonight at 8pm (and again at 11pm).

Check out the trailer for “Little Brother.” Will you be tuning in? 

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  • Cree

    Looks good! Too bad I don’t have cable. Will have to purchase this, if available.

  • Asking these little boys do they want to get married? That should be the furthest thing from their minds at that age.

    • QON

      That little boys eyes glazed over when he was asked if he wanted to get married. LOL. Those boys are awfully cute and stoic. I dont see this documentary adding anything new to the debate. Another 30 minutes of black father bad and black mother good.

    • akosua

      Not trying to be mean but think man! Our community is deteriorating as we speak b/c of the lack of value for family. All cultures ( it appears the exception of AA) plant the seed in both males and females early of their duties to grow, marry & multiple and build strong communities. Family is the oldest institution that exist. It is made up of a husband , wife (ives) and children. This is not new under the sun. AA better get back on board before we are extinct.

  • jess

    when the black community sees the value in making “little sister: things fall apart” and focuses on the horrors and inequalities that black girls face everyday, then i’ll watch.l until then, i won’t watch and continue the lie of black males as the sole sufferers of social problems and inequalities. this one-sided focus on helping black boys – but forcing black girls to pull themselves up by the bootstraps – is ridiculous plain and simple.

    • Ginger

      Imma need you to go on netflix. There are documentaries about this.

    • Jess

      @Ginger: “Imma need you to go on netflix. There are documentaries about this.”

      Let’s be clear: when these types of documentaries focusing on Black girls are put on mainstream tv and media routes, not just straight to DVD so you have to search for them on Netflix, then I’ll watch.

    • QON

      @Jess

      This isnt a zero sum game. On the heels of the Black Girls Rock award show on BET are you really going to talk this shit? Of course you are because you have nothing to add but venom and spite for black men and boys.

    • QON

      @Ginger

      I wouldnt bother countering Jess’s opinions with facts. She will just keep moving to goal post. As you can see, after having told her that there ARE in fact documentaries focusing on the lives of little black girls, her only response was that those documentaries while available werent mainstream.

    • QON

      @jess

      “this one-sided focus on helping black boys – but forcing black girls to pull themselves up by the bootstraps – is ridiculous plain and simple.”

      Yes, pulling themselves up by their boot straps with the help of WIC, Section 8, Crystal Stairs, Affirmative Action, the DSS, default custody, child support, alimony, Planned Parenthood, abortion on demand, the family courts, etc.

    • Ginger

      This documentary is a positive thing. The issues facing black boys directly effect black girls.

    • lindy

      THANK YOU!!!!!!! and the filmmakers are probably black women too.

    • ruggie

      Somebody FINALLY makes a film that asks black boys about their hopes and dreams, and people have a problem with it? Did I miss something here??

  • Natalie

    I don’t believe it is a zero sum game either, but as a community, we are much more forgiving towards the negative behaviors of black boys than we are black girls. Let’s not forget the initial reaction of many out there when the Amber Cole situation errupted– the negativity was focused upon the young girl, not the boys involved. I truly believe that we must focus out attention on both groups, albeit in different ways, to truly see our children progress and our communities change.

    • NOno

      exactly we’re in this together.

    • QON

      @Natalie

      We dont forgive the bad behavior of black boys. We medicate them, put them in Special Education, allow them to fail and flounder and just wait until they are old enough to be sent to the penitentiary. Let the state deal with them. We dont allow them to cry, we tell them not to act like a bitch, they are never the victims of rapes or molestation, we call them faggots when they arent tough. I can keep going but you get my point. The problem with black boys in the black community is that there is the soft misandry and s bigotry of low expectations. That isnt forgiveness, thats condescension.

      I would like to see the reaction of the black community if two homosexual black boys were engaged in oral sex in the back of a public school. Something tells me the black community wouldnt just shrug their shoulders and say “boys will be boys.”

    • Perverted Alchemist

      QON hit the nail right on the head with this one!!!!

    • jess

      The system medicates Black girls too, tracks them to BD classes, does nothing to help steer them from the dangers of getting pregnant too early, sends them to juvi at higher rates than other races of girls, and most of our “Black” organizations completely ignore them. It’s all about the Black boys and men.

      So to the Blacl klansmen QON, who thinks that only Blac boys matter, or that only Blac boys are “too important to fail”, I have no interest in your worthless opinion and your obvious hatred of Black girls.

      And at J, the filmmaker, thank you for your response. But I would just say that people listen to Black girls even less than Black boys. Never was their a dau when I would have thought Blck men a d women would have to compete againt each other until I grew up and realizd just how undervalued Black girls are in the Blac community and America in general.

      Your documentary is good work, but we need to show love and understanding for why Black girls are failing and being victimized too (with th same level of visibility), not just continue to push the “do it yourself all on your own” pull yourself up by the bootstraps mentality that is always emphasized to Black girls, and rarely if ever to Black boys. They get the help and sympathetic ear from Black women and men in our community (and thus Black males have an overblown victim mentality) – we get hatred and are forced to believe that we have to make it on our own, no matter what bombfields and obstacles are in our paths.

  • J

    Hi all,

    I’m one of the producers of the Little Brother series. We’re glad to see the project provoking so much discussion, positive or negative.

    @Clnmike Yes, we asked about marriage. The idea behind a project like this, which is backed by scholarly research, is not to influence them one way or another but to learn about their thoughts at that age – i.e. what they believe, as well as what ideas they’re absorbing from their parents and society.

    And yes @jess, I agree that there should be projects that focus on young girls, and there are. The Black Girl Project by my colleague, Aiesha Turman, is one of those. My co-producer and I have also worked on several other films about women and girls. Our focus for this series is black boys between the ages of 9 and 13, for a variety of reasons, which are explained further on our website.

    You’d be surprised at how infrequently people listen to black boys explain they think and feel, especially regarding love. So yes, we hope to bring something new to the discussion. But the main idea is to start the conversation. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts once you see the films.

    Thanks, everyone, for your feedback, and thanks to Clutch for shining a light on the project.

    • Ginger

      Wonderful work.

    • Laik

      I applaud your work here. I remember a similar news story done in Baltimore years ago. They did an interview with a young boy at about 9 or 10. He was so hopefully about his life and goals. Then for some reason they followed up with with him years later at 16 and he was so despondent and jaded; kind of resigned to his “ghetto” existence. It made me feel like what happened and who failed this child in that short amount of time. Your documentary gives insight. People will usually make a small effort to see after a child’s physical needs (food, shelter, clothing), but love and emotional needs as just as important and often unmet.