When looking at a community, one must look at how its economy works. And that economy, of course, has its ties within that community’s history. Jaren Hayman’s new documentary This is North Preston looks at the titular rural community near Halifax. It is also the home to Canada’s first and largest black community. Many of its citizens are descendants of escaped slaves, that history still having a major effect on that community.
This is North Preston‘s focus, however, is on its recent history. That history starts from the 1990s, when the town experienced the same kind of racial tension prevalent in places like Los Angeles and Toronto. And it seems as if the healing process is not successful. Hayman talks to one black officer who remembers the community’s physical retaliation against the force. This led to a lack of police presence in is North Preston.
Hayman also talks to that town’s most prominent citizens like Kirk Johnson, a former professional boxer. His story should be an uplifting one. But he also talks about experiencing racial profiling in his community that’s reminiscent of the same practices that police services inflict on black people in Canada’s major cities. Police target people like him without taking his moderate wealth into account. Hayman’s interview of Johnson provides insight on the dysfunctional policing in North Preston.
The only misstep here are the scenes with Just Chase, an up and coming musician. There are literally segments when the movie becomes a long music video. He also discusses how music got him out of criminal activity, which is fair, but it’s disconcerting to see him dissociate from the people he might have hurt in the past, especially with his connections to the town’s sex trafficking industry. His presence, thankfully, doesn’t distract from the film’s earnestness.
- Release Date: 3/23/2019