During his transition from female to male, Bennett is taken under the wing of his musical hero, transgender folk singer Joe Stevens.
Bruce Nugent, co-founder of the journal Fire!! with Langston Hughes and others, inspires a gay teenager through memories of the Harlem Renaissance.
Rodney Evans received The Independent Feature Project's Gordon Parks Award for Screenwriting for his screenplay of Brother to Brother. He also received funding from The Jerome Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation towards the writing and production of the film. Brother to Brother premiered… at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize for passion in filmmaking. Evans's autobiographical film, Close to Home, has been shown at more than 30 film festivals throughout the world. His feature-length project, The Unveiling, opened theatrically in Los Angeles and New York in 1998.
Written and directed by Rodney Evans and starring Anthony Mackie and Roger Robinson, Brother to Brother invokes the glory days of the Harlem Renaissance through the memories of Bruce Nugent (Robinson), who co-founded the revolutionary literary journal Fire!! with legendary authors Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Wallace Thurman. Brother to Brother is the story of Perry (Mackie), a young black artist kicked out of his family home for being gay. Trapped between the worlds of the black community and the gay community, Perry searches for a connection in the real world. As his friend Marcus is performing his new poetry, an elderly man appears seemingly out of nowhere and begins reciting verse to them. He disappears just as quickly and elusively as he arrived. In his library research for a class project, Perry finds a book about the Harlem Renaissance and recognizes a poem — "Smoke, Lilies and Jade" by Bruce Nugent — as the same one that the man was reciting. Soon they encounter each other again at the homeless shelter where Perry works.
When Perry confronts Bruce about who he really is and begins to ask him about the Harlem Renaissance, the two men embark on a literal and metaphorical journey to the creative center for the younger, rebellious generation of the Harlem Renaissance. Although the house is now dilapidated, Brother to Brother visits the landscape of Bruce's memories, which exposes Perry to the legacies and hardships of pioneering black authors. By witnessing the pride that Bruce and friends exuded, Perry begins to gain a stronger sense of identity.