Reginald “Junior” Askew is a slight, charming seventeen-year-old boy possessed by the fearlessness of youth. He has always dreamed of what lies beyond Bertie, but struggles to see the route. When we meet him at the age of seventeen, he can barely read. He lives in a small home wedged in between fields of corn with his mother, who was left to care for him when his father was incarcerated for murder when Reginald, was three years old.

“I’m glad I can look back and see my younger days and see how it was for me back then, keeps me on the road I’m on today. And I got two very good friends out of it, Margaret and Jon.

I love people. I’m a family man. I’m just like everyone else in the world. I may have made bad choices, but I’m not letting those choices determine the outcome of my life. I’m out here workin’, doin’ it.”


David “Bud” Perry is a farmer who hopes to someday take over his father’s landscaping business and become his own boss. Growing up in what he refers to as “the hood” of Bertie, he has developed a tough exterior, leading to repeated suspensions for fighting and altercations with authority that threaten to derail his dreams of stability and success as an adult.

“I have never done anything like this and it was a new experience. Sometimes I didn’t want to do it because I wasn’t used to being on camera and I was nervous. Margaret and Jon made me feel comfortable. My favorite moments from the film are from The Hive, graduation, prom, and cutting grass.

I want a lot of kids to see Raising Bertie and see how the Hive started. They will see we live in the country and everybody doesn’t have a lot, but we do our best to have a good community.
I’m a good person and a bad person, but I think people like me overall. They think we are bad, but we ain’t bad we just don’t take no shit.

Ever since I was five or six years old I saw my grandaddy raising hogs, and when I was fourteen I started cutting grass with my daddy. Now I work at Smithfield so I am used to workin’.”


Davonte “Dada” Harrell is the youngest and most sensitive of the three boys, with an emotional honesty that is striking for someone his age. He dreams of something beyond Bertie, and hopes to someday open his own barbershop. For Davonte, family is everything and the recent separation of his parents weighs heavily on his heart. Like many high schoolers he also worries about graduating, making the football team and building his first serious relationship with a girl.

“The experience of filming Raising Bertie was life-changing. I grew from a kid who never spoke up for himself to a young man that can speak with confidence. I believe the sky’s the limit. My dream is to go to barber school and own my own business one day.”