VH1 Recognizes the 20th Anniversary of the L.A. Riots With 'Uprising: Hip Hop and the L.A.Riots' on Tuesday, May 1

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

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April 4th, 2012

via press release:

NEW YORK, NY-April 4, 2012- It has been 20 years since the L.A. Riots, the four days of unrest, looting and rage that paralyzed Los Angeles and sent racial shockwaves throughout the country. After decades of racial tension in South Central Los Angeles, VH1’s Emmy Award-winning “VH1 Rock Docs” franchise explores the connection between the violence manifested on the streets during the 1992 riots and the rage expressed in Hip Hop by NWA, Dr. Dre, Ice T, and Ice Cube among others with VH1’s “UPRISING: Hip Hop and the L.A. Riots” premiering Tuesday, May 1 at 9PM ET/PT on VH1.

Executive produced and narrated by Hip Hop legend Snoop Dogg and directed by Mark Ford, “UPRISING: Hip Hop and The L.A. Riots” tells the story of the most destructive riot in American history and is scored by some of the most iconic and controversial hip hop tracks of all time, such as NWA’s “F Tha Police” and Body Count’s “Cop Killer.” With definitive first-hand accounts and exclusive rare footage that was locked away and hasn’t been seen until now, the documentary gives an inside look at the four fiery days that left 53 people dead and over 12,000 arrested, “UPRISING” is told through the diverse perspective of the rappers, musicians, police officers and victims who lived through the landmark L.A. Riots in April, 1992. Viewers will also witness never-before-heard stories from well known figures and Hip Hop artists who were affected by or actual participants in the riots, including: Rodney King, Arsenio Hall, Ice T, Professor Todd Boyd (USC), Connie Rice (Civil Rights attorney), John Singleton, Too Short, KRS-One, Nas and Henry Watson (one of the “LA Four” convicted of beating Reginald Denny) and many more.

After making its successful debut and receiving rave reviews at the SXSW Film Festival this past March “UPRISING: Hip Hop and the L.A. Riots,” puts a searing spotlight on race relations, revisits Hip Hop’s warning of what was to come and documents the turbulent days of the riot with first hand accounts from residents that were caught in the cross hairs.

VH1’s Emmy Award-winning Rock Docs are feature-length documentaries that tell unique stories of artists and music from a wide range of genres, styles and musical perspectives. “UPRISING: Hip Hop and the LA Riots” is executive produced by Mark Ford and Kevin Lopez for Creature Films and executive produced by Brad Abramson, Stephen Mintz, Shelly Tatro and Jeff Olde for VH1.

About Creature Films: Creature Films (www.creaturefilms.net) is a full service television and film production company and one of the leading producers of music driven entertainment. The company is owned and run by Mark Ford and Kevin Lopez. Together, they’ve produced over a hundred hours of television, with credits that include MTV’s Laguna Beach and Taking the Stage, VH1’s Behind the Music and Bravo’s Kandi Factory.

  • Pigs Feet

    Uprising is a knock off of the film Straight from the streets!!!

  • Pigs Feet

    The official website notes that “Straight From The Streets is a feature length film based on the realities of urban life, expressed through the artistic medium of rap music and hip-hop culture”. Being a child of the 70’s myself, I’m…resistant…to most of what I’ve seen and heard in hardcore rap music–but having an open mind, I agreed to review this documentary (produced and directed by Keith O’Derek). After looking, unsuccessfully, for the DVD, I actually found it on tape at the local Blockbuster Video [quite a feat, considering Lansing “Where Tha Black Peeple At?” Michigan ain’t exactly Culture City, USA]. If it were up to me, it would be included in every Blockbuster.

    The Story: This real-life documentary hooked me with a quote by Kahlil Gibran…

    “And there are those who talk and without knowledge or forethought, reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand. And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words. Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow’s dream.”

    …and revolted me with some unattributed statistics…

    -California’s prison budget: 3.1 billion dollars -In 1996, California spent more on prisons than on higher education -16 new prisons have been built in California since 1984…and 25 more were slated to be completed by the end of the [20th] century -Blacks are arrested for drug offenses five times more often than Whites -Blacks are charged under the “three strikes” rule seventeen times more often than Whites -California’s fastest growing prisoner population is Black women -There are five times as many Black men in jail than there are enrolled in universities

    …and after the revulsion passed, the jaded part of me resisted those statistics, almost justifying them (“well, nobody made those dummies do the bad stuff they did to go to prison!”). But one sobering thought squashed my inner grumblings: there but by the grace of God, go I.

    The remainder of this documentary put a “face” on the statistics, in a way that has rarely been seen; ironically, in a way that my other current “Spotlight On…” film review – the drama, Thicker Than Water – couldn’t begin to approach. While I’m on the subject of “Thicker”, I incorrectly compared it and “Streets” by labelling them both as movies about “the rap scene”; that’s only partially true, about both of them. If I were to sum up “Streets”, I’d have to do it in the words of a 70’s soul tune: “Life ain’t so easy/when you’re a Ghetto Child”. The rap scene was a mere backdrop to the picture of L.A. from the eyes of ‘hood residents, from the 1992 riots to 1995’s Million Man March.

    O’Derek takes us on a journey through the ‘hood by way of interviews with the famous and infamous. Denzel Washington is briefly seen, talking about wanting to lobby Washington DC to “make positive change”; but the majority of time is spent talking to rappers like Ice-T, Ice Cube, and Snoop — or, more correctly, by letting them do all the talking. He also talks with up-and-coming rappers Kam (my personal favorite speaker of the bunch; I felt myself being drawn in by what he had to say, as time went on), Shiff (who is followed throughout the documentary), Lady Of Rage (who had some interesting views about “bitches and hoes”; considering her tag, you just might be surprised by what she had to say) among many others.

    In an inspired move, O’Derek interweaves footage of the 1968 Watts riots with the 1992 L.A. riots–and strangely enough, though much lip service has been paid to the ’68 riots being “righteous”, you get the feeling that 30 years didn’t really change much in the way Black folk were viewed; agree with either or not, We were far and wide seen as opportunistic savages, both times.

    Over time we see, up close and personal, the effects of the highly-publicized (but rarely explored by mainstream media) gang truce, and meet Tony “Bogard” Thomas, who spearheaded the truce–and we see the consequences when the truce is broken. Though the majority of time is spent highlighting Black neighborhoods and residents, the issue of coalitions and separatism between Blacks and Latinos was also explored. All in all, the name of the game was not so much rap as a business, but rap (and “low riders”, and “tagging”, and even to some extent, banging) as an expression of life.

    I was tempted at first to play off “Straight” as an extended version of “Cops”; my doing so would’ve done it a great injustice: O’Derek was no simple voyeur into a world in which he had nothing vested, and neither were those whom he interviewed. He neither glorified that world, nor condemned it; instead, he left the ‘hood speak for itself, in its own words.

    The Upshot: I found myself more easily identifying with Denzel Washington–someone who the rest of the celebrities interviewed would no doubt be considered an “outsider” (even though he, like me, came up from the same streets as Cube & Co. did, albeit at a much different time. Hell, the difference feels like we came up in a much different *universe*). I found my normal knee-jerk reactions to the knuckleheads and bangers fading into the background, replaced by a willingness to truly listen to what they were saying. I’m not born-again Hard, but I can certainly appreciate a different viewpoint than I did before. I still say that “both” [as if there were only two] sides need to shut up for a few years and really listen to what the other side has to say; and I believe that coalition, not separatism, is the only way any of us are gonna get out of this jungle alive. But a thought occurs to me: what if The Powers That Be, in full recognition of the power of coalition, really is doing all It can to keep the powerless us (in all the variations of “us”), powerless? Hmmm…

    Bammer’s Bottom Line: There are many aspects of this documentary that I can’t begin to address in this small space; I reckon you’ll just have to see it for yourself. Be sure to check out Straight From The Streets, available for purchase direct from Upfront Productions, and hopefully for rent at a Blockbuster.

    “Straight From The Streets” (rating: greenlight): “Straight” is a sobering look at a way of life which many of us will never know firsthand; even those of us who grew up in the ghetto of old (and by the way, unlike some of my contemporaries, I wear my ghetto past in pride), can’t really Feel what it’s like now, unless we do more than look in from the outside. While I found myself boggling at the “Ices” (Ice Cube and Ice-T) seemingly excusing everything under the sun that Black folk do (including that which we do to each other), as if We are mindless children who don’t know any better–it is undeniable that there is something way out of wack when more money is spent on incarceration, than on education.

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