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As a young boy, Michael “OG LAW” Ta’Bon’s mother lost her vision. Michael cared for his mother as best he could.


As a teenager, he met his father, Malik. He taught Michael about drugs, and together they fueled their habits through crime.


As a young man, Michael was arrested for armed robbery and spent 15 years in prison.


As a prisoner, Michael discovered God, and sought to change his life, and the lives of others.


As a formerly incarcerated person, Michael struggled for work, and found purpose in being a husband, father, and activist. His activism became an increasingly important part of who he was. Michael took ownership of his past and used it to keep others out of prison.


Michael’s wife, Gwen Jackson, a successful singer and actress who has performed with Sheryl Crow, Harry Belafonte and Cirque Du Soleil, was supportive of his efforts. But seven years since his release from prison, the cost of Michael’s passion is evident. There is tension in the home over where Michael should be, and what he should be doing. His father, his sister, his wife, his stepson, and many others constantly remind him that his focus is in the wrong place. That his passion for keeping children out of prison, while admirable, is costing him his place as a father and husband.


Michael is largely alone in his single-mindedness, understanding the tension in his own family, but not able to accept seeing those around him making the same mistakes that he made as a child. And as the world around him turns to the issues he’s spoken about for years, Michael’s determination and focus is only sharpened. This tension is amplified by the invisible wounds Michael has suffered over the course of his life. The memories of his experience in prison weigh on him heavily. His history, his family, his faith, his community, and the realities of the world around him, are all working with and against one another, in Michael’s eyes, for the betterment or destruction of his goal to change the world. A deeply complicated confluence of motivations and realities blur his understanding what is possible, and what is right under the ever watchful eyes of his family, and his God.


Fight Hate with Love is a deeply personal look into those cavernous realities.


Published: December 14, 2017


Credits

A film by: MediaStorm
Director & Director of Photography: Andrew Michael Ellis
Field Producer: Lindsay Branham
Editor & Producer: Tim McLaughlin
Producer: Samia Khan
Associate Producer: Rebeca Conget
Graphics: Joe Fuller
Producer & Executive Producer: Brian Storm
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