ALI, a young African American boy, is a very talented writer with a tremendously vivid imagination. He has one dream in life: To become a famous screenwriter. As an 8-year boy, Ali desperately and carefully searches for spaces outside of his dysfunctional home where he can lose himself in the world of his screenplays. Today, that place is the backyard of his house. Ali sits there writing a story about an African king and queen who have discovered land to begin their new kingdom. As he sketches a picture of them on his storyboard, he transports himself to this very forest. Ali is abruptly pulled from this story by the ominous voice of SHERMAN, his abusive stepdad.
SHERMAN summons him, snatching him from the peaceful African forest, away from the loving African king and queen. ALI reluctantly goes into the house. As he slowly goes up the stairs and down the hall. He stops by the prayer, to look at his mom, KHADIJAH, a devoted Muslim wearing a hijab as she makes prayer in the prayer room. He slowly continues down the hall to Sherman. The door is closed. ALI opens the door and finds Sherman smoking and playing his guitar. SHERMAN orders ALI to go to the store to get him a slice pizza with sausage and pepperoni. ALI begs him to send his sister, LATIFAH; he fears members of a gang will bully him. SHERMAN refuses, instead, he orders ALI off to the store and warns him to protect his pizza at all costs. ALI leaves and returns beaten up; the pizza is smashed. Upon seeing the pizza, SHERMAN snaps, he strikes and ALI to the floor, when ALI stands to him, he chokes young ALI until he passes, thus losing unconscious, as his sister and mom watch.