So, once upon a time I used to write for this fantastic site. Then I went away, did a Masters degree and had a kid – but I missed writing. I recently started my own blog, which you can find here, about films – yes, it’s that general. I’m going to share some of my content with TMV from time to time, so below is a piece I did about Django Unchained. Ok, I lied, it’s about the film “Hustle and Flow.”

I wanted write about Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and how I think it’s the most important black film of my generation.

But, I have this thing about not forming an opinion about a movie after only one sitting, so, instead I’m going to write about a film which I had Django like feelings for.

Hustle and Flow.

Did you know that Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar for their song “It’s hard out here for a pimp”? Not only did they win an Oscar, they performed the track at the ceremony — in front of people — probably in front of Morgan Freeman. I’m just going to leave that thought, and the below video, out there.

YouTube Preview Image

I’m one of those idiots who consider themselves a hip-hop head. To be honest with you, I don’t even know what that means, all I know is that I am a big fan of rap music and consume a lot of what hip hop culture has to offer.

To put it another way, I bought a pair of Beats by Dre headphones for 3 reasons: It had Dr Dre’s name on them and I am a big fan girl of his; It’s the closest I am ever going to get to Detox; The headphones actually sound alright. The reasons are actually in that order – sound quality last. £300. Feel free to insult me, I deserve it.

At 19, I was just starting university and I remember bemoaning the lack of great modern hip-hop films (for me, “BoyZ in the Hood” was the last one). Then Hustle and Flow came along. I absolutely loved it.

Craig Brewer’s Hustle and Flow is about a low down dirty pimp’s struggle to becoming a (local) rap star.

If you asked a 19 year old Teddybear why he loved Hustle and Flow, he’d tell you pretty much the same as what a 26 year old Teddybear would. The film has a brilliant cast. Terrance Howard’s pimp, DJay, is a wonderfully repulsive, yet venerable character; Taraji Henson is absolutely sensational as the pregnant prostitute, Shug; Anthony Anderson’s Kay embodies a black man’s frustration better than Djay himself. Bluntly put, in 2005, Hustle and Flow was the hip-hop movie I was looking for and with a majority black cast that deserved every plaudit it got and more (Note: the white actors in this film are pretty damn great as well).

The story is well executed. Craig Brewer doesn’t put a foot wrong in the movie. You can also tell that the director has a damn good understanding of hip-hop cooked up in the American south.

Make no mistake, this is a very good film.

The issue I have with it now is entirely my own. It’s aged badly on me. Now when I watch, instead of nodding to the beats or rooting for DJay as he stomps the living day lights out of Ludacris, I sit there awkward and cringing. I know this is unfair on the movie, and I am about to be even more unfair.

Hustle and Flow reminds me of a time when I wanted to be a rapper. I wanted the same things that DJay wanted. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m embarrassed that I related so closely to a horribly abusive character like DJay.

As stupid as this sounds, Hustle and Flow reminds me of the pre-Obama era; a time when most young black men would laugh at you and quote 2-Pac if you told them they could be or there would be a black president. This film reminds me of a time when success was being a rapper or an athlete and when it was cool to call women “bitches” or “hoes” – damn it, I did it myself during my ill-fated career as a hardcore rapper (don’t kid yourself, I can still spit). This film paints a clear, negative but fair picture of the young black man in 2005 – not just the disfranchised young black man.

I know that is nit picking and I should just shut the F up and enjoy the movie – but – this movie is bloody important for black cinema. Successful black movies are rare. Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar for crying out loud.

Hustle and Flow is why I’m trying to tamper my opinion over Django Unchained, a film that I am wild about. Django is clearly an important film, it is also clearly a hip-hop film and for me the film tries to paint a positive picture of the black man.

I just don’t know if this film will age on me like Hustle and Flow.

Chocolate TeddyBear, TMV Movie Critic
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice
Sort by:   newest | oldest

Thanks Teddy; fantastic article. I really enjoyed it.

You can be very funny (Beats by Dre)

And I appreciate your insight. Especially your poignant remembrance of how you saw things in 2005 and how fast change can come to us. It’s a reminder that we all have to keep on pushing, learning, growing. Travel and having children helps move us along as well.

I went to your blog, Chocolate Teddy Films, read Ellen’s guest article.

More solid laughter :)

Then flipped back to your first article. I had one disagreement with you, straight away: you are a damn good writer!

Great to see you resurface. Keep it rollin’ …