Landon Van Soest and Jeremy S. Levine’s ‘For Ahkeem’ is a documentary film that is set in the months before and after Michael Brown’s police killings in Ferguson. It is based in St. Louis, Missouri and follows Daje Shelton’s life experiences right through school and her interpersonal relationships, including that with her boyfriend, Antonio Shumpert. The focus is given to her fights in school, which eventually lead her to forcefully change her school and her subsequent pregnancy right up to the birth of her baby boy, Ahkeem, the namesake of the documentary.
Throughout the filming of her life, Daje serves as the narrator and provides an intimate look into her coming-of-age narrative while emphasizing the numerous challenges that most Black teenagers in all of America face. The 2017 film highlights the resilience and determination one needs to survive against all odds and adversities. While it has been some time since Daje and Antonio have been heard from, fans must be curious to know about their present whereabouts.
Who is Daje and Antonio?
Daje had always been a naughty child, right since Kindergarten, when she had first found herself in trouble. The offer to partake in the documentary came when she was in school. The narrative covers two very prominent years in her life. At the start of filming, Daje Shelton, whose nickname is Boonie, was a young 17-year-old girl from St. Louis, Missouri’s slums. Being the class clown often meant that she would keep getting suspended or thrown out of class. This usually made her feel like there was no scope for her to accomplish any of her goals.
However, having grown up fighting for her future, Daje was used to navigating marginalized neighborhoods and the discriminatory justice system that had been responsible for failing many Black youths, such as her. After she was expelled from her high school for getting into a fight, Daje got sentenced by a juvenile court to court-supervised ‘Innovative Concept Academy,’ which offered her a last shot to earn a diploma and make a better life. In her new class, Daje initially struggled to come to terms with the sudden changes around her, even as she subsequently tried to accept the deaths of her friends and attended their funerals.
Meanwhile, she also attempted to manage the complex relationship she shared with her mother. However, positivity arrived in the form of Antonio, a classmate she fell for. While Antonio believed Daje had the potential to go ahead and become big something in life, his predictions for himself weren’t as bright and hopeful. The much-in-love pair soon became pregnant with a boy, whom they named Akheem. However, Antonio’s predictions of himself eventually ended up turning true when he found himself drawn into the country’s notorious criminal justice system at just 17 years of age.
Where Are Daje and Antonio Now?
A year after the film’s debut in 2017, Daje started studying in an ultrasound technician program in 2018 at St. Louis Community College. Her choice of career was based on an unlikely friendship that she had developed with her own ultrasound technician. In 2018, on the documentary’s official social media page, she posted an update about herself that read, “I’m officially a Patient Care Technician, don’t play with her. I’m going to keep this job and grow in this job for years to come. I found a nice apartment I want to settle in. I’ve been looking to move and will be planning to move around next year sometime school is going well.”
It further stated, “I’ll be starting online classes soon I won’t give up, and I’m still praying for patience and stability for me and my babies. We are going to make it through I have lots of great support around me. Thank you to everyone who has pulled strings for me and also to my references. You also made it possible alongside God. I have come such a long way. I’m so thankful for this new life ahead for me and my babies.” Meanwhile, Antonio found himself incarcerated once again after a probation violation. He was subsequently transferred to a prison quite far off, making it quite challenging for Daje to visit during her pregnancy.
Of the 7-years prison sentence he was given, Antonio served two and got an early release in 2018, leading him to finally meet Ahlexas, his 2-year-old, for the first time. Daje completed her studies in 2022. While pursuing her education, she took up the job of Patient Care Technician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for four months from October 2018 to January 2019. Thereafter, she took up the role of an Entrance Screener in the same hospital in February 2021. In 2020, Daje started a fundraiser, sharing updates on her life and asking to support her and her family.
The mother of two informed that she was expecting her third child and had shifted her career by focusing on trying to become a public speaker to travel the world and help children from different walks of life. In her mid-20s as of writing, Daje presently lives in Macon, Georgia, and has recently started her own haircare business called Greedy Growth Co., and it seems to be doing quite well.
On the other hand, in 2020, Antonio was once again caught in a shootout that led to the death of 20-year-old Kyron Moore from Ferguson. In July 2023, Antonio pleaded guilty to the charges of second-degree murder and several offenses related to weapons. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the same month. As of writing, he is presently serving his prison sentence in a correctional facility in St. Louis, Missouri.