Despite high-profile sex abuse cases like that of Bishop Eddie Long, no one wants to talk about the taboo subject. But the director of “Wolf”, Ya’Ke Smith (“Katrina’s Son,”  “Hope’s War”) believes it’s a story that should be told.

Smith’s film will explore the dark cloud of sex abuse in the black church with the hope of freeing victims who have suffered silently to acknowledge their ordeal and seek help for it. Smith also hopes to stop the cycle of abuse, which goes unchecked when hidden. He told Loop21:

“The title comes from the analogy ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The preacher is hiding in this God-like clothing, coming off as a spiritual person who is helping everyone, but he’s lurking through the congregation, looking for the weaklings. From his actions, he is also turning other boys into wolves, promoting that cycle of abuse.”

Though the content is controversial to say the least, Smith says he’s enjoyed a positive response thus far. And creating his film  hasn’t tainted his love for the black church:

I’m still very much a part of the church. What I think happens to people is that they equate their pastor with God, that’s dangerous. If your pastor messes up, and it shatters your relationship with God, you probably didn’t have a real relationship with God to begin with. The black church does so much good in the community, we can’t deny that, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t churches just out for your money and to play with your emotions. So that’s why movies like this need to exist, to snuff them out.

Read more about his film here.

Do you believe exposing sex abuse in the church will be healthy for our community? Will the airing our dirty laundry have a negative impact on the way people perceive the black church?


WOLF Trailer from Exodus Filmworks (Ya’Ke) on Vimeo.

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  • Moe Langford

    I had the opportunity to view this film, at the Little Rock Film Festival, this year. All I can say is, Job well done!

  • islandgirl550

    Again the black church is faced with the ability to do the right thing here. The black church was all but silent during the rise of AIDS/HIV in the 80s and the disease became a pandemic in our community. They could have done so much to combat the disease but they chose not to have those conversations. I hope the black church takes a leadership stance on child abuse this time around.

  • katrina berg

    Very much looking forward to watching this film. Special thanks to all involved with the film…soo needed. Someone already wisely said that abuse happens across beliefs…more importantly, I believe we need to communicate more about abuse. As a sexual abuse victim myself, I wish I’d had a chance to talk about my experience openly before it was crippling me twenty years later. May god bless and watch over all those abused, and the loved ones of the those abused. There is hope. You can heal, don’t ever give up!.

  • Not true that no one wants to discuss it. In May 2012 a book was released entitled “The Black Church – Where Women PRAY and Men PREY” by author/researcher Deborrah Cooper. It’s a powerful book that breaks down the games run on women in black churches. She put in several years of research to write it, and I think the book and the movie go hand in hand.