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Baraka

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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic | March 4, 1994
"Baraka," which opens today at the Senator, is a kind of nonverbal, nonlinear meditation on the subject, Our World, Whither Goest Thou? It answers: straight into the toilet.The word "Baraka" itself, or so the press notes inform, is a Sufi term that means "Too Many French Fries." For the movie, at its worst, plays like an internal gas bubble in search of a Rolaid. Oh, all right, Film Critic is having some mean-spirited fun with the pious. Actually, "Baraka" means "Blessing," and of course the one exotic word moniker means to link it to "Koyaanisqatsi," another mystic, image-driven jeremiad much beloved by the New Age set.That isn't to say it's difficult to sit through.
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By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | February 2, 2012
A federal court judge on Thursday sentenced 21-year-old Romesh Vance, who was featured in a 2005 documentary about Baltimore boys sent to boarding school in Kenya, to 70 months in prison for participating in a drug conspiracy at the Gilmor Homes public housing complex. "I'm hoping that Mr. Vance will be one of the real success stories," U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg said in handing down the sentence. Legg noted Vance's youth, "tremendous" family support and the many opportunities he's had in his short life that have shown him better ways of doing things.
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NEWS
By ANN LOLORDO | March 25, 2006
Derick Chana never walked the red carpet. He didn't attend the opening night festivities of The Boys of Baraka. He hasn't even seen the award-winning documentary. He doesn't need to; he lived it. Derick arrived at the alternative boarding school in Kenya in 1996 as a 12-year-old from Southwest Baltimore eager for an adventure. He was among the first at-risk middle-schoolers recruited for this program intended to prepare them academically and emotionally for Baltimore's top high schools.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | October 12, 2011
A 13-year-old Romesh Vance sat on a Baltimore carousel eight years ago, spinning slowly as he predicted his future. "I think all our lives [are] going to be bad now," he said. The statement was captured on camera by the documentary filmmakers following his journey - and its premature end - at the Baraka boarding school in Kenya, which gave a handful of disadvantaged city boys the chance to study in Africa. The school was unexpectedly closed in 2003. On Wednesday, a 21-year-old Vance pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to participating in a drug conspiracy involving nearly two dozen people who allegedly sold cocaine and crack out of the Gilmor Homes public housing complex.
NEWS
By Clarence Page | September 8, 2006
WASHINGTON -- What if you took junior high school-age boys, rated as "high risk" in their low-income, high-crime, urban neighborhood, and plopped them down in a low-enrollment, high-quality school in rural Africa? That's the premise behind the Baraka School, a project put together in Kenya by American volunteers and foundations for early teen boys from Baltimore. A year in the lives of one group from Baltimore is chronicled in The Boys of Baraka, a critically acclaimed documentary by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady that played briefly in theaters last year.
NEWS
By Gregory Kane | March 19, 2003
REMEMBER when Mayor Martin O'Malley used all those colorful cuss words a few years back in speaking about Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy? Remember the uproar? Remember how all those black folks gathered out in front of City Hall with signs and accused O'Malley of insulting all black women? How dare the mayor use such language about a black female government official, they fumed. On Saturday, at one of the state's public colleges, another man said something even worse about another black female government official.
NEWS
By Alisa Samuels and Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF | January 7, 1996
Imamu Amiri Baraka, who gained national attention as the black nationalist and poet LeRoi Jones in the 1960s, will speak at a Jan. 28 breakfast in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's Columbia chapter, Kappa Phi Lambda, invited the 61-year-old leftist poet, playwright, essayist and jazz critic to be keynote speaker at its 21st annual King scholarship breakfast, originally set for today but postponed because of the weekend's...
NEWS
By Erika Niedowski and Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF | July 27, 2000
A school in Kenya for at-risk Baltimore youth will remain open for at least another year under an agreement reached between the city school system and the nonprofit foundation that runs it. The Baraka School, which had been threatened with closure because of funding problems, will reopen in September under the supervision of a new headmaster, said Robert C. Embry Jr., president of the Abell Foundation, which established the school four years ago. ...
NEWS
By CHRIS KALTENBACH | June 4, 2006
THE BOYS OF BARAKA / / THINKFilm / / $29.95 The Boys of Baraka, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's extraordinary documentary about an innovative educational program, born of desperation, that sent 20 at-risk African-American boys from Baltimore to school in Kenya, is sobering and enlightening, thrilling and depressing. It may come across as pessimistic about the present, but finds plenty of hope for the future. One thing's for sure: this is not the face of Baltimore that the visitors' bureau would like to present.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | April 19, 2002
Drummers and nature lovers should beat a path to the Senator Theatre tomorrow, as Baltimore's best moviehouse celebrates the sixth annual Belvedere Springfest with a free screening of the film Baraka and a free-form drum circle featuring percussionists of all kinds. Drummers need to assemble in the theater's outer rotunda beginning at noon, and be prepared to pound away. Baraka, director Ron Fricke's wordless celebration of the Earth and all the things that come naturally to it, begins at 1 p.m. Filmed over the course of 14 months, the 1992 film takes viewers around the world.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | July 23, 2010
Nearly eight years ago, its last class of students left the streets of Baltimore for an education in Africa that was meant to change the course of their lives. Yet the uneven legacy of the Baraka School continues to unfold. This month, one of the young men featured in the well-regarded documentary "Boys of Baraka" stood before a judge in a courtroom, where he was indicted on federal drug-conspiracy charges. The story of Romesh Vance is not unique. Other former Baraka students have been gunned down, joined gangs and followed a path the school tried to lead them away from.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton and Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | June 17, 2010
Twenty-two people, including one of the boys featured in an acclaimed documentary about city children attending school in Africa, were indicted this week by a federal grand jury on charges related to a drug distribution conspiracy in the Gilmor Homes public housing complex in West Baltimore. Among those indicted was Romesh Mustafa Vance, 20, who along with his brother was one of four high-risk students whose journey to attend the Baraka School in Kenya on scholarship was captured in the acclaimed documentary "The Boys of Baraka."
NEWS
By PETER HERMANN | August 23, 2009
John R. "Jack" Yates of Charles Village was killed Aug. 4, when his bicycle hit a truck near downtown. Charles G. "Boots" Pratt of Randallstown was killed Aug. 9, when a gunman shot him in a parking lot in Cherry Hill. Yates was 67, had been busy working on his third master's degree, and had two children and six grandchildren. Pratt was 18, had been busy working with the Hillside street gang, according to police, and had just escaped an attempted-murder charge because a witness recanted.
NEWS
By Makeda Crane and Makeda Crane,Sun reporter | August 3, 2008
UniSun recently caught up with 18-year-old Devon Brown, one of 20 boys from the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in Baltimore who was chosen to attend the Baraka School in Kenya, a two-year experimental boarding school that was supposed to separate the students from their city lives in hopes that they would focus on their education while in Africa. Brown is one of the success stories from the program. Last spring, he graduated from the Academy for College and Career Exploration. Later this month, he will attend the Maryland Institute College of Art on a full scholarship from the Abell Foundation, which also sponsored the Boys of Baraka project.
NEWS
By Clarence Page | September 8, 2006
WASHINGTON -- What if you took junior high school-age boys, rated as "high risk" in their low-income, high-crime, urban neighborhood, and plopped them down in a low-enrollment, high-quality school in rural Africa? That's the premise behind the Baraka School, a project put together in Kenya by American volunteers and foundations for early teen boys from Baltimore. A year in the lives of one group from Baltimore is chronicled in The Boys of Baraka, a critically acclaimed documentary by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady that played briefly in theaters last year.
NEWS
By CHRIS KALTENBACH | June 4, 2006
THE BOYS OF BARAKA / / THINKFilm / / $29.95 The Boys of Baraka, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's extraordinary documentary about an innovative educational program, born of desperation, that sent 20 at-risk African-American boys from Baltimore to school in Kenya, is sobering and enlightening, thrilling and depressing. It may come across as pessimistic about the present, but finds plenty of hope for the future. One thing's for sure: this is not the face of Baltimore that the visitors' bureau would like to present.
NEWS
By Tanika White and Tanika White,SUN STAFF | August 17, 2003
Fearing for the safety of the middle-school boys living there, officials have closed the ground-breaking but controversial Baraka School in Kenya after seven years of operation. "With heavy hearts, the Baraka board and the Abell Foundation agreed that the threat of terrorism and anti-American violence was just too high," said Chris J. Doherty, a member of the school's board. The Abell Foundation and the city school system financed the school to educate at-risk youth from the city. The decision to close the school was made in June because of two terrorist incidents in Kenya last year and recent warnings from the U.S. State Department that the East African country was growing increasingly dangerous, Doherty said.
NEWS
By Stephen Henderson and Stephen Henderson,SUN STAFF | July 13, 1997
When Jamal McNeil thinks about how he has changed since he went off to the Baraka School in Kenya last September, he sees physical differences first."I got taller. I got darker. My voice got deeper. And I know I got thicker," says Jamal, pointing to his still-forming biceps and thumping his chest with the boyish bravado of the 14-year-old he His mother, Lenora Robinson, isn't sure what exactly is different about her son."Sometimes when I look at him, I just think he's the same kid he has always been," she says.
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW AND CHRIS KALTENBACH and MICHAEL SRAGOW AND CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITICS | April 21, 2006
Capsules by Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach, except where noted. Full reviews at baltimoresun.com/movies. ATL -- marks a promising feature debut from director (and Harford County native) Chris Robinson. This tale, of black teens in Atlanta trying to escape their neighborhoods, excels at moving beyond conventional Hollywood stereotypes. If only Robinson and screenwriter Tina Gordon Chism had paid as much attention to matters of story and narrative flow. Still, the film presents a complex depiction of the pressures faced by teens, particularly black youths.
NEWS
By BRENT JONES and BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER | April 10, 2006
Daniel Mercer and Donte Bellamy became friends at the Baraka School, where, at ages 11 and 12, they were part of an experimental program that sent troubled youths from Baltimore to a boarding school in Africa and immersed them in army-style discipline 10 years ago. They returned home and went separate ways. Mercer finished high school, went to work at a collections agency and started a business selling clothes and shoes. Bellamy went through two schools and ended up on corners where drugs and violence flourished.
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