CHECK IT is an intimate portrait of four childhood friends as they claw themselves out of gang life through an unlikely avenue: fashion. They’re known on the streets as the Check It – an African-American gang struggling to survive in some of the most violent neighborhoods of Washington DC. As vulnerable gay and transgender youth, they’ve been shot, stabbed, and raped. Led by an ex-convict named “Mo”, the Check It members are breaking the cycle of poverty and violence they’ve grown up in, but is a daunting task. So when they’re not taking small steps forward on the catwalk, they too often take massive steps backwards.
Life for the Check It can be brutal, but for the leaders of the 200-plus crew – Skittles, Tray, Day Day, and Alton – it’s also one full of hope and an indomitable resiliency. At its heart, CHECK IT explores the undying friendship that exists between these kids: an unbreakable bond that is tested every day as they fight to stand up for who they are in a community relentlessly trying to beat them down. These kids and their lives are utterly unique, but ultimately their story – and this film – is a universal one about hope and redemption against all odds.
Screening at 10 am, Wednesday July 27, at the Arden Theatre. Reserve your free tickets on Eventbrite.