BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After months of anticipation, HBO’s documentary “Baltimore Rising” made its debut Monday night.

The film sheds light on the image of the Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray and the riots that erupted days later.

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WJZ’s Rick Ritter spoke with those who were featured in the documentary, and has reaction from west Baltimore.

Sonja Sohn, who played a Baltimore detective on “The Wire,” directed the documentary. She’s getting a lot of praise for the way she gathered information, as she came to the Baltimore community and spoke with those who lived through it.

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Many say the film goes beyond the national perception of this city, as it talks about problems Baltimore has faced for decades: Crime, unemployment, relationships with police, and drugs.

It was arguably the darkest days in Baltimore’s history. Riots, looting, and confrontations with police that changed the city forever.

Following Gray’s death, the HBO documentary “Baltimore Rising” had cameras in Baltimore every step of the way.

“The Freddie Gray incident wasn’t the cause of the uprising, it was just probably that last straw that broke the camel’s back,” one person said in the documentary.

Honing in on problems Charm City has faced for decades.

“It’ll give a view to the world what goes on, and what these kids face day-to-day,” one resident said.

The documentary was the talk of the west Baltimore area Tuesday morning.

“Overall, I like the message. I like what it presents, I actually like what it means for the city,” said Genard “Shadow” Barr.

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One of the major story lines is between Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and Barr, who is an addiction recovery specialist at the Penn North Recovery Center.

After being shot four times in his life, Barr’s respect for the streets is evident. His frustrations are even more clear.

“Put it this way, if you became mayor of Baltimore, the mayor of Baltimore should live in this ****. I guarantee it would change in a month,” Barr said.

His passion for change is obvious.

“Can you imagine living somewhere, and then having it be condemned because of 50, 40 years of neglect? I mean, those stories run through this place like veins, man,” he said.

Since the uprising, Barr says progress has been made, but not enough.

“Pennsylvania and North should not look any worse than the Inner Harbor,” he said.

He says kids need a chance, and need to see opportunity.

“You can’t put people in **** and in this **** situation, and expect them to be civil,” Barr added.

Issues that won’t change overnight, but give our younger generation a brighter future.

“We are trying to effect change within my children’s lifetime, because by the time we see what happens, I won’t be here,” he said.

You can watch the documentary on or on Youtube.

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