Best Documentary: “Not About A Riot”

While national media came to town to capture viral footage to play on loop during the Baltimore Uprising, Malaika Aminata Clements was somewhere off to the side recording her own footage of the protests, art-activist marches and shows, jubilant rap battles on stoops after curfew, and reflections in friends’ homes on Freddie Gray’s death and the city’s response to police brutality, divestment, inequitable development, and other symptoms of systemic racism. Presented mostly as an impressionistic race through April 23 and May 1, 2015, “Not About A Riot” offers a sturdy, artistic counter-narrative to the mainstream media’s coverage that focused mostly on the violence and anger of April 27 (but offered little in the way of context or root causes for such anger), capturing the events of that week and stitching them together, recording that moment in time.

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