By Richie Burke Contributor Published Mar 04, 2021 at 5:01 PM

Have you seen the HBO Max documentary "Growing Up Milwaukee" yet? If not, it's worth being the next show you queue up the next time you’re browsing for something to watch. 

The documentary is the project of Tyshun Wardlaw, a Milwaukee native who wanted to shed light on the conditions that some people are dealing with. Following three Black teens and their daily struggles, the documentary tells stories about the challenges the Black community faces in Milwaukee and cities like it around the nation.

“I noticed that things were changing for the youth that were growing up in the city," Wardlaw said on the GoGedders Podcast. "They’re dealing with things that I never would’ve even imagined dealing with."

Having grown up in Milwaukee, Wardlaw knew of the staggering statistics coming out of Milwaukee. The city remains one of the most segregated in the country, with the most incarcerations amongst the Black community and the greatest economic disparity. Since the youth are our future, Wardlaw wanted to learn more about what they are going through and get their stories out to the world. 


“I feel like I was a filmmaker that fell out of the sky. I kind of just really appeared. No one really knew (about the documentary); there wasn’t any buzz besides the private donations that I got," she noted. "But one thing that I did know was that when I sent out to create the film, I knew that I wanted it to go to a national audience.” 

Although Wardlaw’s documentary highlights stories from Milwaukee, the doc is relevant to any viewer from any city. She is hoping that the documentary will draw attention to the issues that exist in Black communities around the nation and will be a call to action to help our youth, especially those who are struggling. Wardlaw pointed to mentorships and funding for grassroot organizations as ways to immediately help make a difference in our community.

If you are interested in listening to Tyshun talk more in depth about herself and her documentary, or to check out past episodes, click the link: