Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Necessary Viewing: Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots

Uprising: Hip Hop and the LA Riots, a doc by Mark Ford, is on right now and will undoubtedly be on again if you want to see it from the beginning (because that's what VH-1 does). It's giving me goosebumps. For those of you who came of age in the early 90s like I did, I suspect you'll have the same reaction. It opens with Rodney King taking us back to the very spot where he was beaten so mercilessly and as he put it "had his brains beat in". From executive producer Snoop Dogg.  That's right. Don't adjust your blog, executive producer Snoop Dogg. He narrates too.

It's the latest in VH-1's Rock Docs series and so far it's shown some great archival footage from the 80s and 90s. How fucked up is it that 80s and 90s constitutes archival  anything? Check out Ice Cube and Ice T before they were well-fed millionaires and "living room friendly".  Footage is broken up by interviews with hip hop luminaries like John Singleton and KRS-One. Shout out to the Boogie Down.

For those of you, like my little sister, for whom the name Reginald Denny means nothing, take a little time to know this history. This was the last time a large group of people in America were so angry they took to the streets not to occupy,but destroy. 

This exchange from Uprising is a striking encapsulation of the senselessness that all  of that righteous rage devolved into once the match was lit after the not guilty verdicts: 

Interviewer: Who did you assault? 
Subject: Anyone that wasn't black.
Interviewer: Why?
Subject: Why? Because I was upset.
Interviewe: Payback.
Subject: So to speak.

Here's how you would have seen it then on CNN.

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