My fellow Hip Hoppers, you probably guessed by now that I am an avid movie watcher. I am at the point where I can tell if a movie is desirable more by whomever is directing it than who is starring.
Anyhow, I have been noticing a disturbing trend with rappers making the move from the stage to the big screen. Since there are people who are deaf to hearing what is true school Hip Hop music, it can also be said about those same people being blind to what is truly happening with rappers going too Hollywood.
First, let me put it out there that, I am in no way, shape or form against this move whatsoever. God bless those that choose to do so. However, have any of you noticed it seems that Hollywood wants them to play a role of a negative, stereotypical character?
Let me run some examples by you, to show you what I’m talking about.
Ja Rule, played a role of a corrupted police officer in prison by the name of Nicolas Frazier in Half Past Dead. He also played a role of a character involved in illegal street racing by the name of Edwin in The Fast and The Furious. He also played a role of a criminal named Smiley in Assault on Precinct 13. He later played the role of Reggie, who was sucked back into crime by his paroled friend in Back in the Day.
Method Man played the role of, Drops, a nightclub promoter who is in prison for a weapons charge in an episode of CSI.
The Game played a role of, Meat, a ruthless, kidnapping drug lord in Waist Deep. He also played the role of a convict by the name of Grill in Street Kings.
Are you beginning to see a pattern here?
Ludacris played a character that organizes illegal street racing named Tej in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Next He played a role of, Anthony, a stick-up kid that complained a lot about Caucasian society in the Oscar winning movie Crash.
Snoop Dogg played the role of a down on his luck grocery clerk, named Corde Christopher, who gets involved in prostitution by becoming a pimp in Boss’N Up. He also played a role of a physically challenged drug dealer named Blue in Training Day. In this same movie, Dr. Dre played the role of a corrupted police officer named Paul.
Is anyone paying attention here? I got more!
T.I. played the role of, Stevie Lucas, a highly scouted baseball prospect who gives up the opportunity to become like his drug dealing Uncle in American Gangster.
Do you now see this disturbing trend that I am seeing?
Let me ask you this other question. Is this how Hollywood sees US in Hip Hop? Just a large gang? Not a group but a gang of law disobeying thugs? Deviants killing each other? A bunch of brutes?
I can always visualize studio executives sitting on their casting couches saying to each other, “Hey, we can always get one of those Hip Hopping guys to play these roles. They like flaunting their image!” Then the next jerk would respond, “Why Hell, Bobby! It is right up their alley!” And the third idiot would cosign in agreement, “Oh yeah! It comes natural to them! I see it on their music videos!”
Now how about we check the flip side of that coin for a second. Maybe it is right up their alley. Maybe it does come natural to them. Maybe these negative characters are all they have seen and known in their personal lives. However, should it be called acting if rappers take on these negative roles or shall we call it imitating!
I mean would these rappers dare take the challenge on playing a role of a mentally challenged person or a historical character in a period piece? How about a fictional hero in a sci-fi movie?
I give mad props to artists such as Mos Def, Queen Latifah, Ice T, Will “The Fresh Prince” Smith, Ice Cube, and LL Cool J. In my opinion, they all represent Hip Hop in Hollywood with class, professionalism, and dignity. Yes, admittingly each of them have played a negative role at one time, but look at where they are now! They have not been type cast, and these icons took acting more seriously!
Looking back at their movies, the hypothetically last man on earth was an emcee! One of the original gangsters of Hip Hop played a homicide detective. We had a classic lyricist take a comedic role as a VHS video store clerk. We also had a legend playing a cook a quarter mile below the ocean surface. We had a diva lighting up a musical with Broadway flare. Finally, we had Amerikkka’s Most Wanted as a barbershop owner with a conscience for his community. All positive roles.
To those in Hip Hop I say onto you, if you feel that you have the acting skills to step to Hollywood, do your best to avoid these negative roles. If you ever get an offer to audition, in my opinion, I believe you could put more than your foot in the door by doing so.
You know what? We should not even call them negative roles because figuratively speaking these are niggertive roles. You feel me?