Entitled How Do You Raise A Black Child?, this pensive, powerful and beautifully filmed short based on the poem by Cortney Lamar Charleston, observes a mother and son in their daily rhythms under circumstances specific to young black boys becoming men in America. One in which innocence, good intentions and the bond between parent and child resound regardless of the color of a person’s skin. And while the film leaves the viewer questioning the mother’s power in being able to change her son’s fate, Peter-Thomas portrays their story in a thoughtful, honest way as a message to compel change.
“The central question that the poem asks is so resonant and important to me both as a black man and a parent of young kids,” Peter-Thomas said. “Unfortunately, it’s a question that feels as urgent today as it did 60 years ago. It felt very important not to be too literal or closed ended with my interpretation. A poem is a complete work in and of itself. So, why make a film of it unless you can find a way to bring a new level of meaning and ask new questions? Both the poem and the film are essentially a series of commonplace but ultimately false solutions to the problem. I tried to challenge myself to find images that added a layer of meaning and brought more ambiguity to the words. The point is to take away the right questions as opposed to the right answers.”