There’s a term in “the hood” where I grew up that goes something like this:
“Sometimes a rose grows from concrete!”
Mighty Ground is a documentary by Delila Vallot of the emotional, and often heartbreaking, journey of a vocally-gifted homeless man by the name of Ronald Troy Collins, and his road to a changed life. This is a man who, if he didn’t let the addiction of crack cocaine destroy him at a younger age, would probably have been in the R&B zeitgeist along with Luther Vandross and Al Green!
The movie begins as it should, with Collins crooning to the camera with his amazing voice. From there we get a look into his life on the streets. Singing for his next meal. Sleeping on the pavement. And sadly, looking for his next fix!
“…the part of the film that was hard stomach!…because this is a reality that we purposely turn our eyes away from.”
But along with following Collins, Mighty Ground takes a broad and hard-hitting look at the homeless problem on “Skid Row” in Downtown Los Angeles.
There were stories about people who have lost limbs to flesh-eating viruses because of how filthy the streets are where they slept. People who have no access to medicine so they literally die on our sidewalks! This was the part of the film that was hard stomach! Not because of the way it was shot, but because this is a reality that we purposely turn our eyes away from.
And even though Collins’ day-to-day life is tragic, he would be the first to admit that he’s in a “prison of his own making,” He tells a story of the first time he ever smoked “crack.” It was at the age of 13… with his mother, who was obviously an addict herself. From that point on, all he has ever known is the streets.
Through it all, it is Collins’ deep love of music and his faith in God that kept his head up through some of the roughest points of his life. And it’s with the help of people who genuinely give a damn about him, and want to nurture his talent, that he’s able to make some strong (and hopefully lasting) changes in life. But even with the help of friends, kicking a heavy drug habit is an uphill battle very few people can overcome. And we see this several times in the film.
“…will hit you right in the feels… hard!”
Subject matter aside, this is an inspirational movie. There are times you will want to shed a few tears watching it (as I did), but you also get to see a man regain hope for his life and pursue his dreams.
Since filming Mighty Ground, Collins has gone on to release his first album on GOAT Records and has even performed his single “Hell or High Water” on the morning show, Good Day LA.
This movie will hit you right in the feels… hard! I highly recommend it to anybody who has lost hope that things can get better. It’s also an excellent reminder that good people are out there, and that we haven’t become this completely cynical and heartless society of trolls who speak in memes and mean tweets!
Mighty Ground (2018) Directed by Delila Vallot. Starring Ronald Troy Collins. Mighty Ground screened at Homeaid Orange County.
8 OUT OF 10