Via The Weekly Standard, I see that Forest Whitaker is producing a five-part follow-up to “Street Fight,” an Oscar-nominated film that follows Cory Booker’s (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to a unseat an incredibly corrupt incumbent in Newark’s Democratic mayoral primary. I’m pretty excited about this and you should be too – “Street Fight” is pretty much the best political documentary in recent memory. It’s a cliche, but Cory Booker – a black, Stanford-educated Rhodes Scholar who moves back into Newark’s housing projects – comes off as a New Jersey prelude to Obama. Sharpe James, Booker’s rival in the film and the God-knows-how-many-term Mayor of Newark, also makes for an amazing foil, a civil rights activist turned corrupt inner-city pol who is immediately reminiscent of The Wire’s Clay Davis.
James narrowly ekes out a win in 2002, but the documentary is absolutely riveting, and Booker returns to claim the 2006 mayoral election in a landslide. As a rising Democratic star, Booker has also attracted his fair share of glowing media profiles, the silliest of which is this Esquire piece that, for all its faults, actually does a decent job of conveying the immense challenges facing inner-city mayors. The Manhattan Institute’s City Journal also has an excellent article on Booker’s reforms.
Anyway, rent the movie (and read the articles)! I promise you won’t be disappointed: