ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A flyer for a local documentary is shocking St. Louis residents. The flyer shows Mayor Francis Slay holding the arch like a whip, and a black man kneeling on the ground in front of him with the word “slayve’ spelled above.
The documentary is titled “Bootlicker” and explores the racial tension in the city since Fire Chief Sherman George was demoted.
Terry Artis, president and publisher of the African-American news organization RiverCity Xaminer, is the man behind the film. He told KMOX the film and its accompanying flyer are meant to shock people into the reality of how St. Louis is run like a slave plantation. “What I did was use art to depict a condition that I see going on,” Artis said. “Art is suppose to provoke thought and its suppose to provoke response from people.”
The film will be released February 20, weeks before the decisive Democratic primary election between Slay and Aldermanic President Lewis Reed.
The battle between Slay and Reed has oftentimes hinged on the issue of race relations in St. Louis. However, the Reed campaign denounced the controversial flyer.
“We condemn the overtones in this material. Francis Slay’s record is enough for us to criticize without stoking the fire of racial politics,” the campaign said in a statement.
Glenn Burleigh, Reed’s campaign manager said, “We had no financial ties, we didn’t pay for it.” He also added, “The flyer is in extremely poor taste, but I don’t have a comment on the film because I have not seen it yet.”
Burleigh said Artis passed out the flyers at a Reed campaign event that was open to the public.
“It’s an appalling contradiction to the Reed campaign’s theme of ‘One St. Louis’ when they and their supporters demean, in the worst possible way, African Americans who support Mayor Slay,” the Slay campaign said.
Artis said he approves of Reed, but doesn’t live in the City of St. Louis, so he won’t be voting for him.