Unfortunately certain history just seems to keep repeating itself time after time after time. No matter what group stands tall to denounce crimes based on hate, the problem never completely goes away. As far as America has come over the last 5+ decades, there’s clearly a long way to go. And just when you may have thought that Maybe you can catch your breath, recent events remind us otherwise. Just three short years ago, we once again became a nation divided over the death of a minority at the hands of those tasked to protect. Regardless of which side you stand on, events such as the death of Michael Brown need to be brought out into the open and discussed ad nauseam. The documentary, Whose Streets?, intends to bring the national spotlight back on Ferguson, Missouri.
On August 9, 2014 an unarmed African-American teenager by the name of Michael Brown was shot and killed during an altercation with Ferguson police. The event instantly became national news and quickly escalated to violence, protests and complete civil unrest. It is in these moments following this tragedy that Whose Streets? begins to come together. What is witnessed over the next 90+ minutes will undoubtedly make those watching feel much of the emotion that occurred during this extremely trying time. While this narrative is slanted more towards one side than the other, it is a lesson that all should heed.
Documentaries are difficult to create and even more difficult to watch when events have occurred so recently and the subject matter is as uncomfortable as it is in this particular piece. Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis felt that the slaying, and events that followed, of Michael Brown needed to be front and center for all to relive (or in some cases, experience for the first time). The tricky parts about major historical moments is that those involved don’t necessarily know that they’re in the middle of something so poignant until they are allowed to step back and review the situation as a spectator. Whose Streets? will do just that as it recounts all of the mayhem from Brown’s death to clashes with police and National Guard, and then eventually to a trial that sparked even more outrage.
“Rating” a documentary such as Whose Streets? is a very tough task. Regardless of personal views or perceived facts, all you have to go on is what is put in front of you. I personally believe that there are many sides to a story and these stories are often shaped to the person’s or persons’ agenda. In this case, taking what is shown at face value gives a grim look inside how certain segments of America view their existence in a country that is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Heartbreaking is a word that comes to mind when recounting what is shown in this documentary. This also comes with enlightenment as well as a uncontrollable need to help heal the world we live in.
While the event that occurred on August 9, 2014 may have changed the landscape and outlook of the Ferguson area for years to come, there’s no need go out of one’s way to seek revenge against “the other side”. Watch Whose Streets?. Take it all in. Process your feelings. Do your part in making the world a better place by helping prevent the next tragedy. Awareness and propensity for loving everyone equally is the best weapon to defeat hate. You can see this moving documentary in theaters right now.