A documentary looking at the cross over between hip hop and hardcore pornography.

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(as Elliott Reed)
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David Upshal ...
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A documentary looking at the cross over between hip hop and hardcore pornography.

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26 September 2005 (UK)  »

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Nudity posing as a documentary – almost totally without value and is demeaning to watch
11 October 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

That hip-hop and r'n'b use sex to sell is no surprise and it is unfair to single these genres out when basically everything in our Western society uses it as well. However no other type of music seems to revel in naked black flesh more than MTV hip-hop. The music videos rarely (if ever) venture off the formula of high-living and booty shaking and there is no doubt that, as the years go by, the standards have gone lower and lower as each video tries to outdo the last and many people would contest that there is little ground between the videos and soft porn, albeit it far from hardcore porn. So when Snoop Dogg hosted the adult video "Doggy Style" it continued a deepening link between the music, the hip-hop lifestyle and hardcore pornography: this documentary examines the connection.

I like hip-hop and I watch porn, but I personally feel that the growing connection between popular culture and porn is not a good thing. The fact that I can see black women shaking their asses in graphic ways at any hour on music television channels is a subject that is worth looking at because it isn't a good thing. So with this documentary I was hoping that the issue would be opened up for debate with both sides discussing the subject. However in reality I suspected that it would simply show lots of clips of the "offending" music videos and lots of pixelated porn scenes. Sadly the film satisfied my fears rather than my hopes and turned out to be a valueless collection of black girls, music videos and porn with nothing or interest to really say.

The talking heads are mostly those involved in the videos etc and they don't offer anything other than basic observation. We spend a lot of time with DJ Yella on the set (hotel room) of his latest shoot and it is typical of the film in that it has no value other than showing us porn actresses getting ready then getting naked. We then spend time looking at India – not a great actress by any means but we get an interview with her interspersed with lots of clips of her naked. The interview is very superficial and it was a shame because I would have liked to see her pushed a bit – but the director just lets her chat without depth. For most of the film we are led by an unseen narrator which means that most of what we see on screen are clips from videos and porn movies. The narrator can't inject any gravitas into the film and indeed is part of the problem, throwing out bad puns about probing and "ins and outs" but never getting lower than the bit where he talks about the first use of use in hip hop, he says that up till then the music had dealt with "mostly harmless issues like racial politics and the glamorisation of gangster violence" – yes, you heard me, "mostly harmless issues".

Overall this is a terrible film and I cannot overstate that. Consisting of nothing but clips and titillation, this "documentary" is cheap and unpleasant. Given the potential to examine the issues of sexuality the fact that it just wants to see black skin is all the more disappointing. I'm sure it got good viewer figures by pushing nudity but it is hardly the documentary to come to if you want to leave with any respect for the black culture. Worth watching if you are too cheap to go and pay for porn but otherwise it is almost totally without value and is demeaning to watch.


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