I applaud Ice Cube, Gary F Gray & Dr. Dre because they know how to tell a great story! The accurate portrayal of a hiphop producers heart.... wanting to make something special...well done. The vicious sharks that swim in music industry waters...greatly exposed. The acting, promotion and soundtrack... superb! In a country where excellence in black film on the big screen isn't seen enough, it's proudly exhibited here.
But from the perspective of the ancestors, they got some explaining to do. Centuries of struggle by our men, women and children who were thoroughly desolate with only one hope. The hope that through their perseverance, future generations would have it better than they did. Many died for that very reason.
That's the African-American legacy.
It was just two weeks ago, we all were discussing how soiled America still is from the horrors of slavery and the following systematic racism.
Blacks for hundreds of years purposely portrayed in every advertisement, news article, play, TV show and movie as dangerous, vile, uncaring, simple, roguish brutes, with intelligence a tad higher than a monkey. Year after year, decade after decade, century after century... And here we are today - as white trigger happy cops shoot blacks. It doesn't matter if they're unarmed, cuz in the minds of so many, blacks are always armed with centuries of dangerous propaganda. And a lie can run around the world twice before truth can get her shoes on!
And in comes Hollywood pushing yet ANOTHER movie with that same ole narrative... Straight Outta Compton! With the convenient subtitle - "the worlds most dangerous group"
Is that literal or it's figurative? None of them came from the most dangerous of street life but Easy E. right? I often hear that they're dangerous because of Cube's defiant lyrics & fierce determination to speak "truth" to power. Ummm, that sounds honorable.
But I'm sure I can come up with a few more suggestions more appropriate than NWA. The black panthers for instance might be better suited for such an honor. With fierce determination they defied an entire system at risk of their very lives! They REALLY fought for justice and most paid the ultimate price. An epic bio pic that shows how these brave young men and women organized change for all races and genders, showing true devotion mixed with legal prowess... that's a film suggestion! And can I get a witness that NWA's "F*** the Police" is only the prevailing anti-police brutality anthem BECAUSE the music industry championed it. It didn't take the FBI long at all to see that NWA was ultimately a harmless group because their other songs & political savvy was thoroughly misguided and non-directional. As opposed to the earlier & less popular "F*** the Pigs" that the black panthers often shouted as they persevered through police harassment as actual freedom fighters, not as drug dealers and pretend thugs. Historically there were activists that started as thugs but TRANSFORMED into purposeful revolutionaries.
I've heard some say, the title "most dangerous" is as far as MUSICAL groups are concerned.... Ummm wouldn't PUBLIC ENEMY better fit that definition? But see a movie like that would simply be too dangerous, it might cause people to do more than ooo and aaah over the financial success of a music producer & rapper who made nice movies and headphones. It might cause REAL change.
NWA may be the most dangerous, but not because they fought against a racist and oppressive system... but because they were effective ambassadors of that very system! I like to call it white supremacy on wax! Who else could have done such a great job at spreading the age old message that blacks are morally sub-human? Many things white supremacists say about blacks is what NWA confirms in their most popular songs. And yes, in 2015 Twitter is going nuts praising the film and much of the hiphop world is bowing down to NWA as heroes in the genre. But I applaud a good number of blacks that "don't believe the hype"!
Bio pics about rap artists are few and far between, but take notice to WHICH rap movies Hollywood green lights for major motion picture release? And have you ever thought about WHY these particular movies?
Biggie's Notorious, Eminem's 8 Mile, 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Trying and NWA's Straight Outta Compton! Most of which come straight outta Jimmy Iovine's & Dre's storehouse of thuggery, and celebrate the "American Dream" thru gritty accounts of drug deals, crack addicted communities, strip clubs, friends that deceive each other and gun battles gone wrong. And then the inevitable transformation from rags to riches. As they live happily ever after (in their death though). Oh yeah, Biggie was about right, that if you're black...you're nobody til somebody kills you!
To quote Public Enemy... "Burn Hollywood Burn!" They're pretty much about money and judging by this past weekends ticket sales... THEY'RE WINNING! Stay tuned for a Tupac, Ice T and whomever else da cap fits bio pic for us all to swoon over!
Feed us our illusions, Hollywood has no skin in the game, it's just money to them. But don't we as blacks literally have skin in the game?
It's our SKIN that signals brainwashed cops to pull us over just because we didn't use a turn signal. Or blow our brains out for trying to start our car while being questioned. Or get choked to death, spines snapped, or just walking home wearing a hoodie.
BUT SOMEBODY BLACK KEEPS PROUDLY DELIVERING THESE MOVIES TO HOLLYWOOD.
There's gotta be a point where we WEIGH the pains we feel from years of being mis-represented against the joy we feel seeing another black thug soliloquy on the big screen! The pain lasts for years, the joy last 2 and a half hours. You do the math.
There's gotta be a breaking point when we make a critical decision. Directionless expression or real freedom? I know, I know... no one screams when Scorsese does a gangster film, why pick on rappers? Because Jewish people aren't making these movies WHILE simultaneously getting shot down in the streets by their own kind, arrested in astronomical rates and their rappers literally getting assassinated like they were in a Middle East war zone!
When is enough... ENOUGH!?
Consciousness didn't start with NWA, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly", nor #blacklivesmatter.
It's been in full effect since slavery and we must keep our eyes on the prize to reach the finish line!
On the big screen, these rappers are portrayed as bigger than life heroes and even somehow "freedom fighters"! But TRUE heroes like Julian Bond, Garvey, Harriet & Parks deserve a bio pic, because they served US all! But would we support it?
It NEVER was enough to have a conscious song or two on an otherwise "white supremacist" gangsta record. It's not enough to have things "go in cycles"... (people say that to me all the time about music)
It's about standing on the shoulders of those that stood before us until we get out from the ditch that hides our humanity!
Our values are so backwards that fathers, mothers, educators, intellectuals & activists don't fill today's memes and murals. Instead it's Tupac, Biggie, NWA and maybe a Jay-Z. The murals you see painted in the ghettos, (I've even seen em in the outskirts of Africa!) Memes of these rappers floating around on the Internet and interviews at the end of albums with their "prophetic" words. 3D holograms of them in front of wooing crowds. Supposed martyrs packaged and shrink wrapped in a CD. "Heroes" of the people - celebrated, applauded, jailed and assassinated, with a level of admiration that you'd think they died because of political resistance or activism, but no. It's simply a petty beef or a record executive hungry for more money.
We have so lost our way, that we celebrate their temporary success - in lieu of our own lasting success.
Behind the riches of every Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Easy E. or Suge Knight are quiet little Jewish & White guys in polo shirts that are even richer than them.
They play golf and listen to Bach while they count their money. Meanwhile we wallow in these decadent, century old stereotypical, blaxploitation flicks and albums, their kids fly in private jets and vacation in Belize. Our kids suffer just walking to school.
Yes, Straight Outta Compton is very good and yes, these men have immense talent, but Italian mafioso refused to sell crack to their own communities. They insisted on separating their families from their illegal business.
We sell this "crack music" to our little kids and we infest the whole world with it!
It is NOT just entertainment. We are getting killed in real life. We influence Africa, South America and everywhere there's poor people that need inspiration. It has never been simple entertainment and it has far out reached the block.... it's racist propaganda. And it hurts the soul of humanity!
And by the way ITS NOT HONEST, it's not what we see in the hood. It's an embellishment of it, it's "reality" on steroids, it's someones story on performance enhancers! And the things that destroy these communities has become a Satanic virus, packaged and shipped out to every other community to infect those that were previously healthy.
That's my problem with NWA - not the music (it's brilliant) NWA endorsed the worse traits of the hood, promoted these traits and to justify their lust for fame they revised their purpose claiming it's a noble freedom of speech movement.
And many have bought that revisionist history, poured it in our glasses & ummm that kool aid taste sweet! White supremacy is happy, blacks got our thug heroes and the world keeps on turning.
So, sit and eat your popcorn, sip a Coke, enjoy a well-deserved break from lifes stress.
I know I did. I also know I made Ice Cube, Dr. Dre Gary Gray and a host of white dudes a bit richer! I'm alright with that. May God bless em.
But even as I'm entertained by the film, I know that unless we change our dynamics and moral infrastructure as black people, WE really are the entertainment. The silly blacks that can't realize the difference between an Arnold Schwarzenegger fiction and a propaganda missile aimed at the very demise of our freedom, dignity and culture.
GIL scott was right....The revolution will not be televised it will be screened in a theater near you.
Two thumbs up.