LifestyleNew documentary examines hip-hop's impact on White House

New documentary examines hip-hop’s impact on White House

A new documentary, “Hip-Hop and the White House,” breaks down how occupants of the “People’s House” made decisions far beyond 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The film is a passion project of celebrated rapper Jay Wayne “Jeezy” Jenkins, executive producer and lead evaluator, who examines personal and professional development in hip-hop, in relation to who occupied the executive office.

Writer and director Jesse Washington makes the film engaging, in less than one hour. It hits significant points with commentary from key hip-hop artists, historians and political leaders. The documentary opens on January 20, 2009, on the evening of  President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Jeezy and Jay-Z were at LOVE nightclub celebrating the first Black American President.

“There was so much energy. You would have thought we had all won,” Jeezy reflected on that occasion. “It was electrifying!”

Starting with the 1970s, the film takes a decade-by-decade look at the intersection of hip-hop and politics. 

The film rewinds to the 1970s, tracking the growth of hip-hop and shining a light on the Gerald Ford administration. KRS-One shared that Ford was clear he would not assist New York with its financial difficulties.

“He basically told New Your City to kick rocks,” said KRS-One.

Then, in the 1980s, when former President Ronald Reagan came into office, his inauguration festivities featured entertainment from The Breakers, a New York City-based dance group, marking the first time that hip-hop was in the presence of a U.S. President. Reagan’s budget policy was about cutting basic needs and supporting the rich, the people who put him into office

“People don’t realize the very next day something happened,” said KRS-One about the budget cuts. “Something is missing from your community. 

Then “Hip-Hop and the White House” discusses the influx of crack cocaine, conflicts in Central America and the work between the United States and CIA connection. The film breaks down how the Reagan administration knew crack was imported into Black neighborhoods by Central America. The administration was not going to stop the drugs from coming in because the operation was funding America’s military conflicts. 

Other key points in the film is  President Bill Clinton called Sister Souljah out for a comment she made that he hadn’t quite understood. What Clinton did not expect was Sister Souljah’s clear, fact-based feedback that put her in a prideful position with the Black community.

Another major moment is when Kanye West calls out President George W. Bush for racism on his administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina. It was acknowledged in the movie that West said what the Black community was thinking. 

Then there is the love the Black community and progressives embraced with Obama that was depicted in the film’s opening. From Jeezy’s “My President,” the film underscores how the White House invited hip-hop artists to the understood the needs of the community. 

Streaming on Hulu, “Hip-Hop and the White House” peels back the layers to reveal a story of strength and resilience in the Black community and in hip-hop music.

Source: Washington Informer

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