As I sat down, I began to review “Raise Your Hand” with no specific expectations. I understand that with allowing the creative to create I am unable to set personal expectations. Instead, I embark upon viewing with an open mind. As I began the film I was drawn in by the vivid cinematography, the sheer grit presented by the characters, and the desperation portrayed by their surroundings.
As I began to watch the story further develop I was attracted to the relatability of each character. This project presents a take on life as it unfolds for those living below the poverty limits. However, not your typical God send me an Angel storyline, No, not in the least. Jessica Rae is able to present resilience, determination, and the true essence of what can happen when one refuses to succumb to their surroundings. Gia is a representation one Love, Loyalty, Grit, and Surviving, while Lila comes at you with Whit, Charm, a Hustler Mindset, and a Desire to Win by any Means! The pairing of these two as best friends presents a play on Good vs. Bad as their relationship unfolds throughout the school year.
I don’t have to tell you that there is a “Hero-Esque” character, however, what I will tell you is that there is more than one and neither comes from the usual angle. Oh yes! Jessica Rae knows how to write, direct, and deliver.
Imagine if “Freedom Writers” was combined with “Dangerous Minds” then sprinkled with a bit of “Crooklyn.” Let it soak in… Then, let it soak in again. Now! Forget all of the seasonings and just throw in some Frank’s Red Hot… It goes THERE!
More than a film, this is a reality check for the world! For the record, #iSaidWhatiSaid
RAISE YOUR HAND follows best friends Gia (Jearnest Corchado, Sneakerheads, Little America, The Fosters, The Blacklist) and Lila (Hanani Taylor, Criminal Minds, Punky Brewster) as they balance school and personal connections with their family, friends, boys, and neighborhood, including the corrupt local police. Gia struggles to maintain her grades and sort through a tumultuous relationship with her mother and stepfather. She attempts to find solace in a relationship with a new boyfriend, Wish, and invest in her writing. Very quickly, however, all of Gia’s relationships go through dramatic, sometimes traumatic, changes, and Gia and Lila find themselves in their own separate fights for both meaning and survival.
Important allies, school counselor Amaris and teacher Ms. Ramsey, come to their aid. With them, Gia is encouraged to write a play about her life, and she soon finds herself bringing her fellow students, and their experiences, together in what becomes a testament to their perseverance and the power of story.