"Put It in a Book":
A Story of Adversity and Perseverance
Cesar Gonzalez Media Credit: Magali Ruer
now and then you meet someone who has overcome so much adversity their
life story would motivate the Grinch to save Christmas, but it's rare
when you come across one who is so young and has so much life still to
Jabril Muhammad is one of these people; a sophomore at
Santa Monica College, he was selected by the Make a Film Foundation to
write and star in a short narrative film titled "Put it in a Book"
along side well known actors Michael Ealy and Kerry Washington.
it in a Book" is a film about a young boy named J.B. being raised by
his older brother Akmed in a tough Los Angeles neighborhood. Akmed gets
gunned down in front of his home and is found by Sheila (Akmed's love
interest) and J.B. lying dead on the sidewalk.
J.B. has to now
choose his destiny by either avenging his brother's death or taking the
advice given to him by Akmed: avoid gangs and do well in school. After
his brother's death J.B. is rummaging through Akmed's collection of
books when he comes across a note, he remembers his brother telling him
"if you want to hide something from a black man, put it in a book."
taking the note to Sheila, J.B. is stopped by the same group of thugs
that murdered Akmed. In a powerful scene, J.B. and his brother's killer
stare each other down, their faces inches away from each other.
or not J.B. goes after the man who killed his brother is left open,
although, there's a great scene that leads you to believe he does.
"It's like a twist for film, for J.B. to do the right thing," says
Jabril. "Put it in a Book" is directed by Rodrigo Garcia and was
financed by donations and grants through the Make a Film Foundation.
is a story of a young man growing up in L.A. searching for the
answers," said Jabril. This story is very similar to his own story of
struggle as well. "I wanted to write something that I was involved in,
something that will touch others," said Muhammad who was raised in
foster care with his older brother Shareef since the age of nine.
his brother didn't die in reality, his film death was inspired by the
growing differences in the direction of their lives. "He didn't die but
I felt he died spiritually," said Muhammad.
Muhammad was born in
1988 in Ladera Heights to a middle class Muslim family. In 1997 his
family life was deteriorating; his mother Khadijah had been placed in
Olivine hospital for mental instability while his father Rasheed was
sent to prison.