An ad for a movie about the protests in Ferguson kept popping up in my feed. So, I clicked on it and found out that there was a documentary on the social unrest in Ferguson following the killing of Michael Brown. The documentary, Whose Streets?, was playing at a theater near me.
|Image courtesy of Google|
Whose Streets? Did what Detroit did not. Whose Streets? put a face on the struggle for basic human rights in this country. While Detroit was a docudrama set in the 60s around the events at the Algiers Motel, Whose Streets? Is set in the present day. Both provide an unflinching look at police brutality and we see that not much—if anything—has changed over the last 50 years.
Detroit’s brutalization of Black bodies is void of humanity. We see them beaten and killed. There is no justice for the families. The end. Detroit focuses on the victims. They are nothing more than bruised and battered bodies some of which are discarded with the ease of throwing out the trash. They don’t exist outside of the hotel.
Whose Streets? Is told from the perspective of the protesters. We not only get to see them taking to the streets, we also get to go behind the scenes. We are invited into their homes. We see them having breakfast, talking about homework. We see them as people fighting for justice while still living day to day.
Detroit is about helplessness in the face of tragedy; Whose Streets? Is about hope. I’ll take hope over helplessness any day.