Against All Odds with Messiah Rhodes

Date(s) - Friday 11/20/2020
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Against All Odds is a personal and also important social story about recidivism and our criminal justice system and how effects so many generations. It’s also a story of women surviving this broken system and ways we can support them.

Co-sponsored by iEAR Presents! and the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer, Youth FX and TEAM Hero

Against All Odds

“I lost my mother to the criminal justice system for 15 years.”

Messiah Rhodes was just a kid when his mom, Juanique Rhodes, went to jail. Over the years, she was incarcerated four times. In Against All Odds, a two-episode documentary series produced in partnership with AJ+, Messiah looks at issues that prevent women, like his mom, from breaking the cycle of incarceration.

Juanique and Messaih’s story isn’t unique. 1.9 million women are released from US jails and prisons each year, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. When they get out, they encounter numerous systemic obstacles preventing them from entering and thriving in society. There is no centralized support system for formerly incarcerated women, and without a place to live, with no family backing, limited education and employment opportunities, they are more likely to reoffend, and get trapped in the US criminal justice system. 77 percent of women are rearrested within nine years of being released from prison.


I was born in Far Rockaway, Queens, and did not have an easy childhood. Separated from my parents at 4, I was homeless and on my own by 16 when I discovered my passion for writing and filmmaking, which has gotten me through some of life’s toughest times. I began my career in the film industry at 17 doing grip and electric work, which helped me get out of the shelter and gave me independence.

Since then, I’ve built a steady foundation in independent video journalism, filming and editing footage from the origins of Occupy Wall Street to the Black Lives Matter movement.I’ve worked for companies such as BET, VICE Media, and Democracy Now!, and produced video for the New York City Department of Homeless Services. At my most recent job as an Associate Producer at VICELAND, I pitched and hosted award-winning short documentaries that aired on VICELAND’s cable channel. I am creating video content that highlights marginalized voices, stories, and ideas, and my work is socially conscious, entertaining, and enlightening.

— Sponsored by iEAR Presents! and the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer, made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


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