Justin Tipping and Kofi Siriboe (Focus Features)

Editor’s note: In Focus is a The Root TV series showcasing the new wave of black filmmakers.

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Justin Tipping is the writer and director of Kicks, a story set in Oakland, Calif., about a young teenager whose dream is to own a pair of fresh Air Jordans. Soon after he gets his hands on them, they’re stolen by a local hood, causing him and his two friends to go on a dangerous mission to retrieve them.

Kicks offers a rare and authentic look at life in Oakland and stars Oscar nominee Mahershala Ali, Queen Sugar’s Kofi Siriboe, newcomer Jahking Guillory and C.J. Wallace, son of the late iconic rapper the Notorious B.I.G. This is Tipping’s first feature after receiving huge buzz for his short film Nani.

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When speaking with The Root, Tipping shares how Kicks’ story hits close to home, what it was like working with Ali and how he hopes this film challenges traditions of machismo.

See the interview here: