The most telling detail of the documentary Whose Streets? isn’t how it starts, but how it ends.
Like I Am Not Your Negro, its final credits are accompanied by a Kendrick Lamar song (in this case, “Alright”), suggesting solidarity among two non-fiction films with a unified message of exposing the mistreatment African Americans face on a daily basis — most notably at the hands of law enforcement.
Drawn to Ferguson, Missouri, by the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr., directors Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis excel at interviewing some of the major voices in the local activist scene and source footage through an array of means.
Once these key players eloquently provide their community’s backstory and various ongoing frustrations with the local 5-0, the filmmakers stay on the ground for over a year, tracking such outspoken figures as Brittany Ferrell, Alexis Templeton and Tef Poe in their efforts to enact change and bring the offending parties to justice.
Though the average viewer is aware of Ferguson and the struggles its African American population has endured and continues to face, Whose Streets? provides a welcome and in-depth understanding of the conflict, inspiring both respect for the featured folks taking a stand against police brutality and a call to action for audiences across the nation.
Impressive still are the constant questions posed by the filmmakers and subjects to the officers in hopes of explaining their questionable acts, giving them every opportunity to justify their decisions or admit their mistakes, queries that are nearly all met with damning silence.
Cue the Kendrick.
Grade: B-plus. Rated R. Now playing at Grail Moviehouse
(Photo: Magnolia Pictures)