The small clips of Sista Souljah and Afeni Shakur, the examination of Afeni’s son Tupac, hiphop’s sexism and Danyel Smith’s and Ice-T’s discussion comparing New York to L.A. in Episode 3 almost save this, but if executive producer Chuck D can’t connect the historical-cultural dots for us, then all is lost. 😦
No discussion of COINTELPRO. No connecting national police brutality to the edicts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s J. Edgar Hoover.
No connecting the history of L.A. police brutality to the SWAT teams, units created to destroy the Oakland, California-based Black Panther Party and other Black revolutionary groups.
Nothing on the obvious African cultural roots of hip-hop.
Nothing about South African apartheid or the anti-apartheid movement!!!! (Okay, those super-brief clips of Winnie Mandela in Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First” are in here.)
Nothing on New York’s Black radio, the communication power of Black deejays nationwide and New York’s Black news-talk radio!!!!!!
Nothing on *why* the early 1970s hiphop artists *publicly* ignore artists shown (Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, etc.)–the aftermath of the brutal, public repression of New York groups like The Panther 21, the Black Liberation Army, etc.
Nothing about early white corporate ownership and the shaping of hiphop. But Episode 3, however, at least starts the later discussion, at least, and it gives some justice to C. Delores Tucker.
Nothing on the more radical/Muslim/nationalist hiphop artists of the ’80s–X-Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers, etc.
FEBRUARY 21TH UPDATE: It’s kinda sad on Malcolm X Assassination Commemoration Day to see such a light touch on hip-hop’s contradictions. (Where was the “dick-riding Obama” clip from “The Boondocks?” 🙂 ) Episode 4 should have been called “How Hiphop Didn’t Change The World.” This story, which somehow turns Eminem into (Black/hiphop) America’s hero (?), would have worked much better as two episodes.
P.S: Tupac Shakur has been dead for almost 30 years now.
P.P.S. We really need a big, full bio of Jesse Jackson Sr.