The documentary gives a timeline of Detroit from the perspective of the people who are simultaneously discussing Coleman Young and Kwame Kilpatrick’s political careers.
It begins with an interview from 1990 with then-mayor Coleman A. Young, a political legend and the first black mayor of Detroit from 1974 to 1994. He believed the media wrongfully views Detroit, which people on the outside don’t really know. He says “to attack Detroit, is to attack Black.” He believes other politicians base their own platforms off of making Detroit a scapegoat, by comparing their cities to Detroit. Here is an example of the media inaccurately painting a picture. They made it seem that as soon as black politicians took control in Detroit, and the city became 80% black populated, that the city just turned to a corpse of itself; when really that happened because almost half the population left and moved to the suburbs. From here it made him adopt the philosophy: Detroit vs. Everybody. Once you cross that eight mile line, you were an outsider to him and the rest of the city.
People argued that he rejected the integrationist goals of races in favor of a flamboyant, black-power style that won him loyal followers. Kwame Kilpatrick, on the other hand came into office and literally did whatever he wanted. By the end of his first term, TIME magazine named him one of the worst mayors in the country. By the end of the term, he had over $200,000 in credit card debts from using city funds for his own personal gains. The thing is though, he came as a people’s politician. Before resigning from office after two felonies, he got a co-sign from Obama too, but then was denounced by him during his campaign. Kilpatrick’s time in office was constantly plagued by out of office sex, murder, and money scandals.
Detroit is 81 percent black and the poorest city in America, according to new census data, while the surrounding suburbs are 81 percent white and include some of the most affluent enclaves in the country. Detroiters have divided themselves along racial lines, and politicians on both sides of the city’s cultural fault line—the 8 Mile Road made famous by Eminem—have stoked racial fears to get elected. Both have pushed for their agendas, and both have met heavy adversity and never really brought Detroit out of its Hell Hole.