STREET FIGHT, THE SEQUEL
I missed the event held last night at the Tribeca Cinemas by the makers of Street Fight, the engrossing documentary on the 2002 Newark mayoral race. Director Marshall Curry, one of our “25 New Faces of 2005,” followed Cory Booker as he challenged five-term mayor Sharpe James for the job and was shocked when James not only attacked Booker but also turned his ire on Curry as well.
I guess the event must have been a kick-off to Booker’s 2006 campaign, but there’s no word yet on a film sequel. I hope Curry considers it. His films could be the Godfather and Godfather 2 of American politics.
Here’s Debra Dickerson in The Washington Monthly about the 2002 race before she concludes that “Newark Part Deux is going to be a very bumpy ride”:
“James ran on a platform of squashing any dissent from within the black ranks and of letting his beleaguered constituents eat the cake of impoverished black identity. He called Booker ‘white boy,’ ‘faggot,’ and claimed he was ‘a Republican’ supported by ‘the Jews’ and ‘the Klan’. The off duty policemen in James’ security detail roughed up Booker supporters and the documentary film crew following the campaign (I supplied commentary for the film); they ejected Booker supporters and journalists from public spaces where James campaigns. Booker supporters lost their jobs, their licenses, their parking permits. James affected fury that Booker, what Bull Connor would have called an outside agitator, ‘maligned’ Newark’s inner city as blighted, that people suffered there. He was shocked, shocked that anyone would claim that there was a lost tribe of poor blacks somewhere in Newark who weren’t quite living the dream. Watching the footage was like watching Eyes on the Prize but with blacks as the truncheon-wielding thugs.”