Skid Row

95 minutes 9.0/10 based on 20 votes

Skid Row is a 50 to 54-square block area in downtown Los Angeles between 3rd and 7th Streets to the North and South, and Alameda and Main to the East and West. On any given day, an average of 80,000 homeless and transient people live there. According to award-winning L.A. Times Journalist Steve Lopez, there are no words to begin to convey Skid Row’s reality. It’s ground zero of homelessness. The suicide rate is one of the highest in the area and it’s accompanied by high rates of violent crimes and drug use. In fact, there are over 100,000 heroin users in the county and only a few residential detox facilities.

Los Angeles mayor called his city the “homeless capital of the country.” Los Angeles has double the rate of homelessness of New York City. But Skid Row is much more than just a place— it’s a lifestyle, a mindset, and maybe even the last resort for those who have given up on society and might have also given up on themselves.

In this feature documentary, Praskazrel Michel, a member of the successful hip-hop band The Fugees, left the comforts of Beverly Hills and deliberately chose to live as a homeless person on the streets of Skid Row for nine consecutive days. His original intention was to shine a light on what really goes on downtown and to connect with some of the people, but in the end he ended up shining a light within himself, searching for answers to the inevitable question “what can I do to end this?”

During his stay in Skid Row both he and his crew are under cover. But the very first night it became pretty obvious that they were going to need to use hidden cameras for security reasons.

Pras Michel’s journey is a difficult one from the get go. Among the many problems he faces are hunger, exposure to the elements, an infestation of cat-sized rats, and dangerous run-ins with criminals and drugs. His last night is spent underneath the bridge, meditating on the life he has led and the huge difference in the lifestyle of people who live just a few blocks away. The county of Los Angeles is simultaneously the habitation of 262,000 millionaires and 88,000 homeless people. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.

In the end it turns out to be a life-changing experience because Pras learns much more than only how to fend for himself. He arrived on Skid Row with just $9.00 and a tent but after he experienced firsthand the dark underbelly of Los Angeles, he left Skid Row with life lessons he won’t easily forget. Watch this film now.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • Justin matich

    I used to live down skid row made it with nothing. Now off the streets live in minnesota married. Justin matich if would like to know more. About skid row. Look me up I’m trying to get a movie filmed.

  • Bet

    My son as found under a bridge heroin needle in arm cannot find any article he died 10/8/1994 he was 27 cannot find where it appended in la county ca name was David Aiken we just what closure if anyone knows. I’ve searched newspapers but o luck. Appreciate any hel

  • Obs

    Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t get any further than the 7/8 minute mark without it stopping and starting again.

  • Jessica

    my life is so fucked an drugged have brought me to rock bottom ive lost everything the love of my life my hope faith and everything I don’t now how to get up on my feet and start over so what do I do next maybe someone pushin them in to recovery is best for them

  • Jessica

    I was clean for 5 years before I relapsed but right now I’m lost dope has no hope but I feel like a failure in front of everyone I guess I feel like no one wants to watch me seccussed I want to have hope faith and courage to beable to do this again recovery where do I start

  • Jessica

    so what do I do

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