Screenwriters Q-Tip and Darnell Martin suggest that the ghetto is a recruiting office for penitentiaries in this gritty urban film.
Although his buddies cut up in class, studious Elijah Butler (Justin DJ Spaulding) shows budding artistic promise. His mother (Mary J. Blige) is trying to better herself by studying to be a paralegal and her new boyfriend, ex-con Steve (Harold Perrineau), ekes out a living as a street vendor and is a caring surrogate dad to Elijah. But they're still barely scraping by: Manhattan rents are high and the streets are full of danger and temptation. A scuffle with officious cops lands Steve back in prison and Mrs. Butler, depressed b...