"Brick City" Offers More Real Talk Than Pep Talks


Via Baratunde Thurston of Jack and Jill Politics, a stirring clip from Brick City, the Sundance Channel documentary on Newark, New Jersey and its Mayor, Cory Booker:

I pulled this clip because I think it’s the most powerful monologue I’ve seen in a good long while. The speaker is not an actor, however. This is real. It’s the passion and pain of an inner city principal unable to keep his students safe, and it is heartbreaking.


From Natalie Hopkinson's smart piece on the meta-story behing the heartbreak:

Even when he’s complaining about the media, to the media, while being filmed by another member of the media, Cory Booker has a message he needs to get out. It’s all part of the job description of today’s "urban" leader. The battle for the future of communities like Newark begins with changing perceptions. Before he can change the institutions, he has to change the narrative about them. (And if that means taking on Conan O’Brien via YouTube, then so be it.)

A whole and more accurate story would explain that post-industrial communities like Newark have become veritable islands, cut off from the kind of resources needed to truly address deep-seated issues. The story might begin somewhere before slavery, then move on to racial and economic segregation.

Booker knows as well as any other black person in Newark that the endless hagiography being spilled about him since his 2006 election is simplistic and plain inaccurate.

Watch for yourself! Sundance will be replaying the series beginning Saturday.


Covers the White House and Washington for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.