JOY is an emotive short film following the struggles of a single Nigerian mother as she raises her young son in inner city London and tries to steer him away from the lure of life of on the streets.
The emotive new short film depicts the devastating effects a young man’s reckless actions take on his mother.
Reflecting on how the streets often claim young men for themselves, only to spit them out in the form of prison, death and trauma, JOY warns youngsters of the devastating effect their negative life choices can have on those that love them most.
Whilst it’s the young men who are unwillingly inveigled into a life of crime, how does this affect the ones called to care for them? Jolade Obsasola plays the role of the single Nigerian mother struggling to raise her young son (Reece Badziokila) and to protect him from wayward influences. African woman are often depicted as strong, proud, independent and rigid characters, yet in shining a light on the toll taken on those we perceive as strongest, JOY aims to deter youngsters from pursuing this perilous path.
The film’s director, award-winning Sheila Nortley, also an African mother, can relate to the mother’s predicament in JOY, She said: “Many Black mothers relate to the struggle of trying to keep their son whole emotionally, mentally and physically in a world where from nursery they are seen as a threat.”
“My personal experience of being involved in knife crime led to a huge amount of suffering for myself, my family and many people. I’ve witnessed two friends of mine die from stabbing injuries…”
Knife crime is a fear that many Black parents struggle to come to terms with. In 2019 there was a record number of offences involving knives in England and Wales reaching 45,627 in 2019 – the highest on record.
The inspiration for JOY was part inspired by the experiences of some young men who have been through Key4Life, a charity which rehabilitates young men in prison or who are at risk of going to prison, and children caught up in knife crime. Former offender, Renardo Henry aka Creepa, who is now an emerging rap artist, and who runs music workshops and is a caseworker for Key4Life’s rehabilitation programmes is one example of this.
Creepa, said: “My personal experience of being involved in knife crime led to a huge amount of suffering for myself, my family and many people. I’ve witnessed two friends of mine die from stabbing injuries, and that made me leave that life behind and come to Key4Life, who helped me turn my life around. I truly hope JOY will provide a powerful deterrent to any youngsters tempted by the trappings of the destructive path of knife crime.”
Key4Life is presenting JOY to schools in London and Bristol this October and November and we can only hope that viewing this inspiring film, many more young people will heed the powerful message it is sharing.
JOY was written and produced by Percelle Ascott and Igor Mongulu, directed by Sheila Nortley and executive produced by Joivan Wade.
JOY is available to stream via Million Youth Media on YouTube.