Hundreds of teens and adults packed into Set the Captives Free Outreach Center in Baltimore for a Feb. 24 viewing of “Payin’ the Price,” a new film on teen domestic violence.
The film was directed by 16-year-old New Jersey native Jordan Coleman, and has already gained widespread recognition and awards. The Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival presented Coleman with the HBO Best Feature Film award last year, and MTV gave the teenager $10,000 towards the completion of the project.
“As I did more and more research I found out this was a serious topic,” said Coleman, who at times met resistance from those around him while working on the film. “Some of my own family and friends were against me making the movie, but that gave me the push to continue.”
“Payin’ the Price” is set around Jazz Johnson IV, a popular all-star athlete from a wealthy family, and Sabrina DeGraffe, a girl from a single-parent home looking to escape her house of sisters and ordinary lifestyle. The film takes an in-depth look at the effects of teen domestic violence, how it starts, and how hard it can be for teens to walk away from someone they love even while being physically tormented.
“Relationships like that are unsafe and unhealthy. They ruin your character from within because you always have that cloud hanging over you,” Coleman told the audience during a question-and-answer session after the screening. How are you always sad when you’re with the person you’re supposed to love?”
Counselors and ministers were on hand to help the dozens of teens who realized they needed to get out of their own physically or verbally abusive relationships.
“Parents you need to mind their business. Your kids are your business,” youth leader Marlon Cooper told audience members. “When they start drawing away from you, you have to read those signs because they are making decisions off emotion. If they can’t confide in you that removes their protection.”
With February designated as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, organizations took advantage of the opportunity to bring their youth to a fun and informative event.
“We have to give them the tools to know what to do if they get into this situation. If we are proactive instead of reactive, maybe our children will have an opportunity in the world,” said Knicole Taylor of Empowering Minds of Maryland’s Youth, who brought a group of young ladies to see the film.
According to reports by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one in every 10 teens has experienced domestic violence with an intimate partner at least once.
For more on Jordan Coleman and "Payin' the Price," visit www.payintheprice.com.
For more information on teen dating violence please visit http://www.cdc.gov/Features/DatingViolence/