By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
Black and Latino students at Eagle Academy, the all-boys school network started in the south Bronx, are the focus of a new documentary called The Infamous Future which will premiere on HBO Max on New Year’s Day.
The Infamous Future follows students at an academy in the Bronx with a particular focus on one teen, Joshua Perez, and his mother Rosa and how the academy’s educators work to break a longstanding American prejudice and ensure some of the city’s most disadvantaged students succeed.
“A lot of people believe that if you’re from the South Bronx, you’re not going to make it, you’re not going to go to college, you’re not going to be what you want to be,” says Perez in a trailer for the documentary.
Writer and producer, John Campbell, also followed alumni Christopher Davis, President and CEO of The Eagle Academy Foundation; David C. Banks, principals of several Eagle Academy for Young Men schools and Brooklyn Borough President and mayoral candidate Eric Adams for the film.
The school was founded in 2004 after a Columbia University report found that 75% of all inmates in New York were men from seven New York City neighborhoods: The South Bronx, Harlem, the Lower East Side, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York and South Jamaica.
“Our young men face many hurdles when it comes to educational success. Over the course of 15 years, we at the Eagle Academy Foundation have created the infrastructure and support system which allows them to thrive and reach their full potential,” said founder David C. Banks. “The debut of ‘The Infamous Future’ on HBO Max is a rare opportunity for people to see the promise and excellence young men of color have when given the opportunity to succeed.”
Since then, The Eagle Academy Foundation’s network of schools now includes six public schools across New York City’s five boroughs and Newark, New Jersey. The academies boast a graduation rate of 87%, almost 30 percentage points above the national average for young men of color, with 98% of their graduates prepared for college or other career opportunities.
“I wanted to tell a success story on education, particularly focusing on Black and brown boys,” said Campbell. “Eagle Academy is that story. The students’ and educators’ success not only impacts their lives but the lives of the entire community, inspiring all generations.”