Whose Streets? Film and the New Black Leadership

whose streets sabaah folayan and damon davis

Although I plan to see the Ferguson, Missouri uprising documentary Whose Streets? in a theater this week, I’ve declined to write about the film up to this point because mentalunrest’s editorial policy typically forbids me from writing about media I’ve neither seen nor experienced, but I have to share some thoughts about the recent and excellent Facebook Live interview — featuring Whose Streets? directors Sabbah Folayan and Damon Davis — which hits its most resonating point at about 12 minutes and 42 seconds when a member of the online audience asked: “How Can I, a White woman, get involved and support people of color?”

Folayan’s explosive answer underscores a major theme of the film, and likely explains how the fight for racial and social justice has changed forever:

… We all have the capacity to be creative, to be strategic, and I think it’s about figuring out what that looks like for yourself.

In the old days, people would respond to oppression with an immediate call for establishment leaders to broker a solution with the oppressive forces.

Perhaps I’ll call out names later, but I’ll keep this note focused …

… but I’m talking about those 7-Eleven activists — named as such because they always seem to open shop down the block when you need something — seasoned pros at sniffing out and harvesting struggles while chasing 401Ks even harder …

… and leaving behind a field suffering from soil exhaustion while the leaders travel to the market.

Fed-up Ferguson Missouri citizens — tired of the government-sanctioned racketeering operation that used its police department for muscle — didn’t wait for convenience store leaders to take the streets.

After all, it’s “Our Streets.”

Gone are the days of waiting for a Messiah, who after anointment should begin to count down the days before being introduced to a bullet or life sentence in prison.

And then the movement dies.

The new thinking is that we’re all leaders, in our own way.

This point is what makes the uprising in Ferguson so dangerous.

Feel me?

I embedded the Folayan and Davis interview below this post. You can also click here.

Whose Streets? begins its nationwide release tomorrow, August 11.

Song currently stuck in my head: “cure” – moonchild

[Disclosure: I’m friends with Folayan’s Mother, who made an introduction about six years ago. I met her once more since that time.]

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