Whose Streets?

PBS Premiere: July 30, 2018Check the broadcast schedule »

Filmmaker Statement

Every day, Americans experience a mediascape that humanizes whiteness, delving into the emotional lives of privileged white protagonists while portraying people of color as two-dimensional and mostly negative stereotypes. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the case of Mike Brown who, despite being college-bound and well regarded by his community, was portrayed as a "thug" and a "criminal" after a white police officer shot and killed him in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014.

As a result, Ferguson has experienced media colonization since that day; as all eyes turned to the protests, the grand jury and the response to the non-indictment, people became desensitized to the scenes of chaos. The dehumanization of Mike Brown was perpetrated by his murderer, perpetuated by the media and reinforced by violent police repression of his community. This was a modern-day lynching.

We are intimately aware of how we are portrayed in the media and how this portrayal encourages both conscious and unconscious racial bias. For this reason, it is essential that black people be the ones to tell our own true stories. We are uniquely suited to make this film because we ourselves are organizers and activists who are deeply connected to the events of August 9 and beyond. We made this film, in part, as a tribute to our people--our deeply complex, courageous, flawed, powerful and ever hopeful people--who dare to dream of brighter days. This is more than a documentary--this is a story we personally lived. This is our story to tell.

-- Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis