Rapper Kendrick Lamar dropped “Compton State Of Mind” in 2009 as an ode to his city, and eight years later and a five-hour drive north, Michael Tubbs did the same with Stockton when he became the city’s first Black—and youngest—mayor at age 26. The new documentary “Stockton On My Mind,” which debuts Tuesday (July 28) on HBO and HBO Max, tells his story.
Tubbs’ tale begins with a teenage mother and a father who was in prison and leads to a Stanford University scholarship before returning home to serve on the city council and running for mayor of the city of 300,000. Directed by Emmy-winner Marc Levin (HBO’s “Class Divide”,) the film follows Tubbs on his mission to “upset the set-up,” according to the film’s website, as he works to improve his beleaguered hometown by launching bold social and economic policies that will support positive civic action.
When Tubbs ran for mayor in 2016, Stockton was struggling. Yet the film shows how the politician created the Stockton Scholars program, the SEED program and the anti-violence Advance Peace initiative, by engaging communities around the root causes of conflicts. To help tell Tubbs’ story, Levin turns to residents and leaders of the community, including community organizer Jasmine Dellafosse, former NFL wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, first-generation Latinx student Rogelio “Junior” Vivero and more. There’s also an appearance at the end from Common.
While the director doesn’t hide Tubbs’ distractors, the film also doesn’t hide from his successes: As of early 2020, homicide was down by 38 percent; the Stockton Scholars’ first class received 879 college scholarships totaling more than $700,000; and the SEED program will continue through the end of 2020.
Watch the trailer for “Stockton On My Mind,” courtesy of HBO.