Langford Cunningham interviews a woman with HIV in Hood Chronicles
A trailer to the documentary Hood Chronicles begins with these disturbing 2008 crime statistics for St. Louis: 4,345 assaults, 2,634 robberies and 167 homicides.
Not mentioned -- but implied -- throughout the rest of the clip is that an overwhelming amount of that violence plagued the city's African-American community. The goal of Hood Chronicles is to change that.
"We want to raise awareness on the streets of St. Louis and Illinois that there are alternatives," says Langford Cunningham, the host and voice of the documentary scheduled to be released next year. "We explore crime, STDs, single-parent families and other issues affecting the black community and look for people who can speak first-hand about their impact."
Along the way Cunningham, a middle-school teacher in the Lafayette School District and cousin of boxing promoter Kevin Cunningham, interviews prisoners, educators, gang-bangers, politicians, prostitutes, rappers -- and many more -- asking their opinions of how to improve the community.
Those appearing in the film include hip-hop artist City Spud, Congressman Lacy Clay, East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks and many more.
Assisting Cunningham on the project is director Steven Todd and producer Ryan Gunn of the Soulard-based film company, TVPro. The group is applying for grants to cover some of the production costs and hope to finish filming by November.
For more information on Hood Chronicles check out its website or tune in this Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. to 100.3 "The Beat" where Cunningham will be discussing the film and its inspiration.