'They Fight' Highlights Boxing's Power And Mentorship Of Young Men In Washington D.C.

“The story is not just a black story, it’s a human story.”

When filmmaker Andrew Renzi stumbled across a 2016 Washington Post article titled, ‘It ain’t all about boxing’: Young D.C. boxers find a role model and find their way,’ by Michael Minahan, he was instantly drawn to the idea of bringing the story to life.

Two years later, Renzi’s new documentary They Fight has risen. It follows three young African-American boys growing up in Washington D.C. ‘s Ward 8 neighborhood, where they find strength, discipline, and refuge through boxing. They participate in the Lyfe Style Boxing training program, and train for the 2017 Junior Olympics.

The boys, Lamar “Twin” Odoms, Quincey Williams, and Ragahleak “Peanut” Bartee, are mentored by Sterling "Coach Scoop" Thornton and Coach Walter Manigan. Manigan, who is forced to fight demons of his own coupled with a criminal past, takes on the mission of steering these young athletes in the right direction. Through his stewardship, he hopes to give them something they lack.

“These are good kids, man. There’s just some things they missing in their lives that they can’t control,” Manigan told The Washington Post. “So that’s where I come in, being a role model, teaching them about life, about being respectful. It ain’t all about boxing. I want to raise them from boys to men.”


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Little hands. Big heart. THEY FIGHT this Sunday. #BTS

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They Fight also excels at showcasing the stark dichotomy between Washington D.C.’s poverty-stricken Ward 8 neighborhood, and the lavish political trappings on Capitol Hill. It’s baffling to witness marginalized communities co-exist in the backyard where laws and policies are made, but it highlights how race, class and social status trap a certain demographic into a life of poverty.

“That was one of the things that I was really drawn to about this story,” Renzi said on the red carpet of NeueHouse Hollywood Wednesday night. “It’s Washington D.C. which is our nation's capital—the loudest place in our country right now and then there are these incredible stories happening in that place that we’re ignoring. All we hear is politics, but really there are people there who are doing great things and need our help just like everywhere else.”

The documentary is produced by Common's Freedom Road Productions and Argent Pictures, who partnered with NBA stars Tony Parker and Michael Finley. For the Oscar-winning rapper, it was a no-brainer to assist in telling this story, which he sees as universally powerful and not just geared toward a black audience.

“The story is not just a black story, it’s a human story,” he said. “You see these black men and you relate to them as human beings. You relate to their mental as human beings. Anytime I get to be a part of storytelling that brings us closer to who we are as black people, and who we are as people, I’m all for it.”

The stars of They Fight hope that the youth in their community realize the other options one can take in life other than selling drugs or gang banging. “I hope people learn that the streets isn’t the only way out,” Peanut said. “I know they feel that’s the only thing they can do, but they should know that there are more things out here to do than just be in the streets."

They Fight premiered on Sunday (Nov. 11) on Fox. The documentary is part of the network's Magnify series, which started in November 2017. The reel also debuted in select theaters in New York City and Los Angeles.

READ MORE: Common And Andra Day Talk ‘Marshall’ And Standing Up For Love And Justice

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Tyler Perry's 'A Fall From Grace' Cast Talks The Film's Lessons In Life And Love

Love can truly be an emotional rollercoaster. When it's high, it feels beautifully warm. But when it's low, it can become really cold and dark. The enactment of the latter can be seen in Tyler Perry's upcoming Netflix film, A Fall From Grace.

While feeling disheartened after discovering her ex-husband's affair, new divorcee Grace Waters played by Crystal Fox (The Haves and Have Nots) finds herself alone and lonely. With encouragement from her best friend Sarah Miller (Phylicia Rashad), she goes out to an event where she meets what she thought to be the love of her life which she soon finds to be her biggest nightmare.

Perry plays an obnoxious defense lawyer (Rory) with no intention of doing much defending and instead adamantly insists that his prodigy Jasmine (Bresha Webb) push for a plea deal. But after meeting Waters, Jasmine isn’t so sure about her guilty admission and suspects foul play. When curiosity meets persistence, the film takes you on a journey of unveiling plot twists that will have you on the edge of your seat guessing hard about how the story will end.

VIBE chatted with the actors behind these characters to talk about love and relationships and the importance of being aware.

"Keep your heart open but keep your eyes open, too; Watch out for red flags," said the film's writer, director, and producer. "Keep your heart open. Love yourself before you look for somebody else to love you, and remember that grace is over you and in you," added leading lady Fox.

When asked what they hope viewers walk away with after watching the crime drama film, Webb pointed out: "I feel like as well as being on the edge of your seat and [while] you're watching it and you're being lost in the drama, also leave with a knowledge of knowing what this movie encompasses together."

Legendary actress Rashad concluded, "I think it's always great for me as an artist when an audience can walk away feeling satisfied, yes? But also reflective of what they've experienced and continue to reflect on the experience."

Ultimately, this movie is a must-see and what is said to be Tyler Perry's best work. A Fall From Grace hits streaming platforms Friday, January 17 on Netflix.

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Issa Rae And Kumail Nanjiani Are 'Lovebirds' Turned Investigators In Upcoming Film

Issa Rae’s 2020 is shaping up to be a blockbuster year. The California native will star in a new film out this April where every twist and turn is full of action.

On Thursday (Jan. 16), the trailer for her latest movie The Lovebirds, co-starring Kumail Nanjiani (Hot Tub Time Machine 2), pits the budding couple at the center of a murder they didn’t commit. When they decide what to do about the dead person, two bystanders phone the police and give them Rae and Nanjiani’s description. The pair then set out on a hunt for the real suspect(s) as they dodge law enforcement’s grasp.

Once the trailer was released, a few Twitter users expressed their excitement and happiness that they're receiving more film and television content featuring Rae.

WHAT I completely missed that Aaron Abrams co-wrote The Lovebirds, #fannibalfamily we've got what looks like a super fun movie to see.

— Alana Bloom's Wardrobe (@EthicsAesthetic) January 16, 2020

Lovebirds gonna be the funniest/ best movie 2020 @IssaRae 😂😂😂 that trailer had me fucking dying dawg

— Slickk (@_Slickk22) January 16, 2020

@IssaRae has two movies coming out this year and i definitely plan on watching them both ; The Lovebirds & The Photograph. They both look great & Insecure coming back on... hopefully we getting 1 hr episodes sis?

— 🐉 (@JohnyLovely_) January 16, 2020

I've seen two trailers with @IssaRae in romantic movies with a POC male lead and I'm so happy about it.

It's The Lovebirds and The Photograph.

— Kristen Squire (@kristensquire) January 16, 2020

Season 4 & new movies 😭😭😭😭 @IssaRae just ... thank you. #lovebirds #ThePhotographMovie

— Daryle-Kennedy (@itsdaryle) January 16, 2020

Presented by Paramount Pictures and MRC Film, The Lovebirds debut in theaters April 3. Watch the trailer above.

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Watch Meek Mill Make His Acting Debut in ‘Charm City Kings’ Trailer

Meek Mill makes his feature film acting debut in the street racing flick, Charm City Kings. The Philly native plays an ex-con named “Blax” in the film, which centers around “Mouse,” a young teenager from West Baltimore, played by Jahi Di’Allo Winston.

The teen is at a crossroads that could find him falling off the straight and narrow path, and into the very same gang world that claimed the life of his brother.

On the flip side, Mouse feels drawn to  the power artistry an energy of motorized dirt-bikes. Charm City Kings takes viewers on a ride with Mouse as he embarks on an unforgettable summer that forces him to steer his way between two father figures, his very first girlfriend, the intrigue of illegal influences, and the thrill of stunt-riding.

Directed by Angel Manuel Soto, Charm City King is executive produced by Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and James Lassiter. The casts includes Will Catlett, Chino Braxton, and Teyonah Parris.

Charm City Kings will debut at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival later this month followed by releases in New York, Baltimore and Los Angeles, on April 10. The film opens nationwide on April 17.

Watch the trailer below.

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