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“Toddlers” Movie Causing A Huge Hue And Cry

"Toddlers" Movie Causing A Huge Hue And Cry

I think it’s been at least a week since a black film has caused some controversy; here’s this week’s addition.

I’m referring to the film Toddlers which was released on DVD in New York last month, and has stirred up a lot of anger, some even calling for a boycott.

The film, which was made entirely in Harlem and directed by Terrence Brown, is yet another one of those drugs and guns ‘n’ da hood” movies, but the gimmick is that the cast is made up of neighborhood kids, some as young as 12 years old.

Brown claims that he’s not an exploiter or glorifying violence but, you know, just “keeping it real”:  “That’s what’s going on, I’m just showing it, You hear about these murders, but people don’t see how it happens. I show how these incidents happen. These are real life situations.” (But then again, isn’t that what filmmakers always say when conforonted about those kind of images in films like this? You mean there are some people on this planet who don’t know? Sounds to me like Brown is really a guy out to make a quick couple of bucks. But then that’s just me)

However, anti-gang and violence organizations are outraged by the film. Jackie Rowe-Adams who runs Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E said that the film should “be banned” and that it brought back memories of her son being killed: “All I could think about was that 13-year-old killing my son”

Iesha Sekou of Street Corner Resources in N.Y. is also upset with the film: This is not entertainment. We don’t need to promote kids carrying guns.

Both Sekou and Rowe-Adams are planning a boycott movement on stores that carry the DVD.

However Brown is not worried about any protests: “This is not new. It’s entertaining in the end but it’s not for everyone”.

I’m sure you’ll have your say abut this.

Below is the trailer:

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I'm with Ray on this one! what folks need to realize is that "THIS IS REAL"…maybe if this violence made the media "every day", families would wake up and take notice that the streets have more of a hold on our children then the people who gave them life. I'm a product of that enviroment, i grew up in the bronx and my hommies where all the local drug dealers and most had bodies on their belt. This movie isnt promoting violence its showing you that you need to tell your babies good night stories, walk them to school, kiss them, tell him he is smart, tell her she is all that, take them to lunch, take them on a car ride and dont wait for the school's field trip, its making you responsible for your babies, its waking you up that your baby, nephew, brother can be next!! The streets have taken away good men and talented woman but we also let them go. We have the power to change but we have become complasive as a community and we sit and wait to see what everyone else is going to do first and we are still coming up last.
you always hear the whisper ( from God) now you have to listen, carry your own cross..dont blame the film maker for true life…it is what it make a diffrence… my daughter graduated with her bachelors and my 11 year old son is an all star student, im only 38 …some body call it…….


Why are people making such a big deal about the violence in this movie ? I seen it on CNN and the news anchor was making such a big deal about a violence in it. There are 1000's of movies with way more blood and violence in them !!


What happened to production value?


Toddlers, could be read as a linch-pin for societies ill's US -BoogieMen-Blackmen, but this troubled film is much more than a ABERRATION for some of these bourgie pathlogists & social wet dreamers, who dont see the forest beyond the trees, no matter how hard, cold or cruel dudes cinema hustle is, this paramount problem with KIDS should be GERMAINE to all of us ( it cant be without the other,no matter what some granola bar intellects say) Toddlers, should be read as a Bruce Lee-Iron Fist in conquering its eternal Parasitic Beast!(KILLER ILLITERACY)( i know for a fact, being a volunteer tutor, that these man-childs, to some degree, relish having some Grown Up(preferably a Man,in some instances) to teach,reach inside their wreched souls and conjole & sometimesbogart them into a somekind of self-respecting person whose self-worth,toil,vulnerablity is in safe keeping with our collective humility & unitied struggle in grasping books not glocks! even to the one's who espouse crocodile tears,but who constantly come back for old school discipline,aint lose one yet ;-).
one of my favorite quo's i hang in my blackboard jungle:


I respect your opinion Laura, I don't think we can get much of the "humanity" of the characters in Toddlers from this trailer, maybe there's more to it, I mean it's only a minute long, but I could be wrong! This isn't something I think I would see in theaters, but I would check it out on Netflix Instant, but if the story & characters suck, I wouldn't finish it. BUT, if it turns out to be good, I'm going to most def harass you to make sure you check it out ;) kidding, kidding!


That's not the Harlem I visited just two months ago. I won't support this project. I want to see black folks portrayed as humans. If you strive to keep it real, then your work will include balance. This was a pornographic trailer. I can get this for free when I watch mainstream media news.

@LAURA I totally agree!


DIS-INGENUOUSNESS has invaded this issue. Hide your grandbabies and clutch your pearls, another "hood porn flick" has been released on our poor suffering ignorant black youth. Well, another way to express my concerns over the recent comments/expressions of concern is that they seem to be self-serving and disingenuous. I mean, it's interesting that some folks are quick to speak FOR our youth in a tone – and with words – that clearly informs others that they themselves are not coming from a point of personal reference and experience, but as a condescending "adult" who has all the answers. They know exactly how troubled youth found themselves in their present predicaments (so they believe), although they've never walked in their shoes. They CAN NOT and WILL NOT talk from a reference point of someone who has fallen in the deep valley, wallowed in it, then came back to tell us how they fell in and more importantly, how they got out. Heck, it's easy to point fingers at filmmakers with a accusatory snarl on our face. However, if we take out any number of films that fall in this genre… would the world around our children change? I seriously doubt it. Plug the movies back in and then what happens? Conversation happens.


And the movie Kidz wasn't a "violent" movie per se, but it did have this one violent scene that's sad to watch, the skateboard scene where the teens jump this guy in the park after words were fired back & forth. This type of beating is similar to the 16 year old that was beat by a group of teens, and who later died in Chicago back in 2009, so again, you don't think this type of stuff happens all over America? Now I'm sure none of the Kidz that helped beat the kid in Chicago woke up thinking "hey we should beat a 16 year old to death with boards today, just like Telly & Casper's crew did the guy with the skateboards in the movie Kidz."


I am riding with Ray and Clayton on this one… and let me tell y'all why. First, as I've said many time, movies like this are a reflection of our society. They do not promote violence. Those who say such can not back those words with any concrete facts. In fact, since the images on the screen ARE a depiction of events past and present, I doubt any of the naysayers can usher in one gang-banger, murderer, hustler, con-man, pimp or ho, who would claim they started their life of crime after watching a movie. It's simply ridiculous and porous thinking to suggest such. Now, let me qualify my statement/opinion with a little facts of my own. I lived in an area/neighborhood in which 85 percent of the men went to the penitentiary… including myself. The reasons behind each of our downward spirals are multifaceted. Some didn't have a father at home, most did… I had both of my parents and none of my brothers went to jail. Violence? I've been shot and I have carried a gun. Education? Well, speaking for myself, I'll match mine against most who visit this board. Now, I've also worked in an industry in which I "saw" and worked with hundreds of victims and purveyors of violence, thugs and pushers and users… on a weekly basis. And, I am here to tell anyone with an open mind that movies of this nature have never been the leading force behind the predicaments of the aforementioned people. It never hit the table. In short, both Ray and Clayton supported their opinions with straight talk and facts. Yet, most of those who oppose this type of art seems to be letting their emotions fuel their words. I wonder if they watch ANY movies in which the grass isn't green or no one dies by the hands of another person? I also wonder if the naynay crowd watches any movies that promotes random sex? Come to think about it, is death the issue or are we talking about passing down "negative" messages to our youth? Huuummmm….


Ray, I am telling you the spots in which I work in are far worse. To my understanding this takes place in Harlem, the rapidly gentrifying Harlem, yeah that Harlem. I work in neighborhood far worse than Harlem. Yes and I grew up with kids like that to. I have lost count with how many people I grew up got strung up to crack, caught up in prostitution, the drug trade, killed, in prison, homeless, mental illness. But Ray tell me. When you were young sitting on the stoop, hanging out in the park, or whatever public place you and your friend ventured, this is what happened all day everyday out in the open? Gas masks….? Come on son… To me it is not as disturbing, as it is typical of adults who have no love and respect for our children and this is how they seem them. Soulless animals running around shooting and killing each other. I will venture to say this. Depraved humans like him would make sex films with if it was legal allowed in the states and idiot followers below like Clayton below would say ,"yo man he's keeping it real, kids be having sex"


Another hood film? Yes. Disturbing? Yes. But does that mean the guy can't make films like this? NO! It's easy for people to suggest what kind of film this guy could make to put a positive spin on it, and these "organizations" want to ban his shit, protest, and say why it shouldn't be viewed. How about the organizations do something to stop this vicious cycle of life that exist for the kids? If this guy does a "filmmaking course" to help a handful of kids in a NY neighborhood, that would be great! BUT… How many kids live like this in NY? How many kids grow up without proper parental guidance? It's NOT just his one film that's the problem. It's EVERYONE'S fucking problem. Sitting back, banning his film, protesting, or whatever else ain't gonna solve shit. Ok the term "keeping it real" makes some people mad. But at the end of the day, this shit DOES go on in NY, L.A., D.C., New Orleans, shit it's everywhere. So don't go saying this man's "hood film" isn't art because he's making one after all of the other one's have been viewed. Terrence Brown could say the same shit to the everyday Joe Blo or Jane Doe. What have YOU did to help a neighborhood kid that may be going down the wrong path? Say you're a lawyer by trade, have you sat down with some of the "bad" kids that may know your young sons & daughters, and tried to mentor them? Show them of all the possible career paths under the Judicial System? Maybe if you're a mechanic & you're tuning up your truck in the drive way, and the bad ass neighborhood kid walks by, you can call him over and show him how an engine works, just like you were showing our son. I'm in my late 20s now, and I can think of 2 guys now that are in prison that I grew up with. Somewhere around the 5h or 6th grade my Mom got a good grasp on me, but their parents didn't do so good with them, and you know what? My Mom forbid me to hang with them, if I did I was in trouble. She didn't want them in the house, didn't want them on our phones, or spending the night. But when you think about it, maybe some of those sleep overs she could have let them come over. Or maybe she could have let them come over for burgers and hot dogs on Birthdays? Maybe if she did, since they wasn't getting love at home, maybe she could have been an "extension" of a parent for them. Maybe she could have let them come over so she could help them with their homework, as she did with me. But she didn't. Is that the reason they're in prison? We'll never know if that led to it, but I'm optimistic, that if we ALL do what WE can to help out these kids we see going down the wrong path, then maybe it will turn out for the better. It's easy for everyone to point the finger, say this isn't art, or they're tired of the stereotypical messages in "black/brown" films, because the TOUGHER decision, is to go pick those 3 troubled kids up and take them to Church with you on Sundays, but instead you pass their house right up because you don't want them to shame your family. Remember that old proverb: "It takes a village to raise a child." So in conclusion, DON'T go blaming this film, or other films like it, START by looking in the mirror and seeing how YOU can fucking help, or how you can get other parents in the neighborhood to come together and you ALL help! That goes for ALL races, we're so desensitized towards raw human emotion and love that's it's downright shameful.


Hey Mom Look… It's kiddie violence porn.


I don't see how anybody on this board can compare it to anything. It has the worst quality and acting ever and looks like pure horse manure. Smh.


I'm sorry but it's time for this mess to stop. We have ENOUGH films that showcase Pookie and Ray Ray killing each other, we can watch the news and see Pookie and Ray Ray have killed Urkel, Tom or Chris and Menace 2 Society.

We don't need another film like this. How about showing the boys in the hood that do make it without being thugs? What this director fails to realize is that there is no BALANCE in what our kids see from our race in the media.

Nobody cares if this is "keeping it real". Stop showcasing the 30% that live like this. Show me the 70% that are making it.


Unless this were some documentary or something of *actual* kids that aren't characters simplified and drawn out into dialogue bits and glamorized pieces…this is pretty much just a lazy attempt at sensationalism and controversy. Please try and find a real compelling way to make a name for yourself.


This is really about making a buck off the plight
Of improvished Black youth. The level of artistry
should match that of Kids or City of God,
otherwise its exploitation. Just keeping it really
real. I'll pass. A favela makes any PJs anywhere
USA look like a palace.


To all those mentioning the movie "Kidz," you can tell by the trailer that the only thing Toddler and Kidz have in common is the children. That's it. City of God? I see it. Kidz? No way.


KIDS meets CITY OF GOD wannabe.


Why are people trying to protest an artist expressing what he knows? We're advised to do so at the start of our filmmaking careers but reprimanded for doing it. Kids are killing kids in the NYC. Just a few months ago, a rising female basketball star at the high school I graduated (Bishop Loughlin) was gunned down in her housing projects in Harlem, mistaken for some dude that had beef with some other kids ( It used to be a lot worse when I was growing up in the scary 80's and early 90's, and if I ever told the stories I have come across over the years in Brooklyn, people would really be appalled (just listen to "Ready to Die" by Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z's first album, Mobb Deep first album, etc.). Terrence Brown is telling these stories and when inspired I plan on doing the same, trying to maintain some social relevance in the telling and acknowledging the problem instead of acting like it doesn't exist. And if it happens to feature kids, which most of my stories from the 80's NYC do, then so be it. The reality existed and that will never change. Meanwhile, you have people wasting their time protesting this young auteur instead of using that effort to support other low-budget films they may prefer — like mine ("Pro-Black Sheep" – the antithesis to Toddlers) that is also on the market and available for viewing.


It's a straight to DVD movie, that probably would have gone unnoticed & ignored had they not decided to protest it. Haven't seen the film, but in principle the director has a right to make whatever he chooses. People have a right to either support or ignore it.


what's this like the black version of kids?


I've reached the point where I'm tired of hearing about "keeping it real". The reality is that our children are dying and nothing is done to change or remedy the situation. Perhaps this filmmaker could volunteer his time and run a program for young children in digital film production or script writing. Maybe, after months of positive outcomes, he could then make a documentary about the positive changes his program brought to the same neighborhood youth depicted in this film. Wow, just imagine if we re-wrote the script for "keeping it real" to "re-defining our destiny".


Young Black and Brown children are murdering each other. It is a sad-perverse reality. One that leaves me with a broken heart. If a filmmaker has a story to tell on this subject manner, I have no problem with that — even if the images are disturbing and/or violent. I do have an issue with films that are poorly written and executed. Has anyone on the forum seen Toddlers?


Terrence Brown needs to keep his conscience real by maybe catching a screening of The Interrupters.


DISTURBING to the highest degree!
Although I'm sure this is reality in some cities but nonetheless it shouldn't be immortalized into a film. Yes, there have been movies such as New Jack City but these were grown folks — I just can't take the kids/youngsters conducting themselves in this manner.

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