While the national conversation has touted Detroit’s “recovery,” the precarious situation of life-long residents in the neighborhoods of Detroit has not improved since filming began in 2010. From a February 2017 report in CityLab: "Detroit is two very different cities – one white and privileged, the other black and deprived. Large-scale purchases, refurbishments and upgrades in Downtown/Midtown by developer and Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert contrast sharply with the decay that continues to dominate post-apocalyptic neighborhood landscapes, inhabited by long-time Detroit residents who are not sharing in the city’s growing but highly limited prosperity."
In an article for Guernica magazine, John Patrick Leary of Wayne State University categorized three types of stories that are emerging in the public imagination of Detroit: Detroit as ruin porn, Detroit as utopian possibility, and Detroit as metonym for the American condition. However, as Detroit blogger Willy Staley points out, “…the neighborhoods of Detroit tell the real story.”
Street Fighting Men takes place in the neighborhoods, where the real fight over Detroit’s future is being waged every day. For the people who live here, Detroit is not a blank slate, it is their home -- where they have invested their lives, families, and memories.