“In My Father’s House” explores identity and legacy in the African-American family, as Grammy award-winning rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith and his long-lost father reconnect and try to build a new future in Chicago’s turbulent South Side.
Che, whose work as a rapper/writer includes the insightful anthems "Jesus Walks" and "Bullet", has long found inspiration in issues facing the African-American community, including the growing crisis of fatherlessness and gang violence. Himself a child of a broken home, Che hasn't seen his father, Brian, in over 20 years, and presumes him dead. But after buying his father's childhood home, Che sets out to find him, and learns that he is now a homeless alcoholic living only several blocks away. Determined to rehabilitate him - and forge a new legacy for his own young family - Che soon realizes Brian may not be ready to take on the responsibilities asked of him.
The film - constructed from home movies, archival photographs, letters, phone calls and intimate verite footage shot over the course of a year - offers a probing take on memory, legacy and identity in a family two generations removed from slavery. As Brian transforms his life from homelessness to independent living, we witness external changes (glasses, hearing aids, dentures) and internal struggle – capturing visceral moments of fear and self-doubt in his attempts to repair damaged relationships while suffering alcoholic relapses. Mirroring his father’s journey, Che embarks on his own quest for self-discovery, examining his role as son and father of three, as well as his public life as rapper, radio personality and role-model activist. A heartbreaking story of violence, addiction, loss and ultimately self-discovery, “In My Father’s House” tracks Che and Brian’s shared journey to create a new legacy for themselves, their community and the next generation of family.