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HBO Documentary Explores Life of First Black Mayor of Stockton, CA

HBO Documentary Explores Life of First Black Mayor of Stockton, CA

This is amazing!

HBO recently released a documentary exploring the life of Michael Tubbs, the youngest mayor in America and the first Black mayor of Stockton, California. 

According to CNBC, Tubbs grew up in Stockton, born to a teen mom and an incarcerated father; he was just one year old when his mother received her high school diploma. Despite an environment overshadowed by poverty and violence, Tubbs had a strong familial foundation that helped him imagine more for his life as he grew his education and voice. He attended the prestigious Stanford University, graduating at 22 and pursuing a career in politics, becoming the youngest elected mayor of an American city, and the first Black mayor of Stockton at just 26 years old. 

Now the new documentary, “Stockton on My Mind,” explores Tubbs’ life and the social and political backdrop that shaped his upbringing and his race for mayor. With positive reviews of the film, the most important thing Tubb says he wants people to take away is that “effort matters more when you have a real opportunity.” 

He says he owes his success primarily to three things; “a family who prioritized love and education, a social services safety net, and moral grounding.” Without these things, Tubbs doesn’t know if he would’ve been so lucky.  


“[Being] blessed with a great mother, aunt, and grandmother [who] weren’t perfect [but were] adamant in instilling love and a sense of self… [teaching me that] what I have to say was important, that I was worth fighting for [and] I could do anything when I put my mind to it [was key to my success],” Tubbs said. 

He went on to talk about the importance of his mother fighting for educational opportunities for him, the importance of having access to adequate food, income and housing support, and the impact of religion and church, which all shaped his outlook on life and the way he governs.

Tubbs is considered a leading voice among a coalition of mayors working on social innovation by advocating for initiatives such universal basic income in the U.S. As he gears up for his second mayoral race, the 30-year-old is focused on “upsetting the set up” and bringing a new wave of change to Stockton. 

“[Working hard is important, but] it becomes more important after all these other things are in place for folks so they are actually on a path and can go somewhere,” Tubbs said. 

“Stockton On My Mind” is available now on HBO until September 1st.

Photo Courtesy of Jamel Toppin/Forbes