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The film "Straight Outta Compton" is a drama starring five real-life "gangster rappers" from Compton at the time. The film portrays the lives of African Americans who live in America's suburbs and the challenges they face on a daily basis in order to succeed in society. The accounts of Erick Wright, Andre Young, and Ice Cube emerging from Compton in the 1980s exposed the vices of police brutality against African Americans, racial injustice, segregation, and crime, among other things. The movie Straight Outta Compton is applicable to the modern American society which just like that of the 1980s has not changed much and still wallows in racial segregation, police brutality and violence.
Towards the end of the 1980s the African Americans had found a new medium on which they could voice out their opinions and hip-hop was inching drastically to popularity. Although initially intended to be a music genre, hip hop became a culture to the African Americans as evidenced by (Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Erick Wright) who embrace it in the movie and it takes them to greater heights. The movie tells a story of the rebirth of hip hop and the rebrand of rap that is politically conscious, lyrical and socially aggressive towards all forms of violence and oppression. The movies depict hip hop as a medium that ushered in a once voiceless people from the minority communities to the mainstream of America’s political, social and cultural dynamics (Straus p.42). The movie brands the America society as one of infringement and hits hard where the joints of segregation, brutality and violence are weakest and in turn it spews out the gross stench of hypocrisy, selfishness and inconsideration
Through the movie the themes of police brutality quickly emerge as one of the most sensitive issues that affects the minority groups of the American society. Through Ice Cube’s lyrics at the time when he stated that the police think that, “They have the authority to kill the minority” the viewers get to relate that statement to the current society. With the onset of the movements like “#BlackLivesMatter” the movie touches the audience who will instantly empathize with it and reflect of the acts of police brutality against the African American teenagers. Through the movie Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Sandra Bland who are some of the recent victims of violence and police brutality get to voice out their grievances. The plot of the movie concentrates on the senseless beating and injury of Rodney King by the police who are later on declared innocent. Even though Rodney King lives, the footage captured forever becomes a scar to the eyes of the American society (Westhoff p.320).
Through the use of a small music group (N.W.A) the movie Straight Outta Compton does not shy away from addressing the dire needs of the American society. It does not sugar coat the bitter pills of racism, police brutality, social detachment, drug abuse and political infringement among other vices that still affect the American society. Unlike in the contemporary hip hop culture where the art of self-expression and struggle against oppression is slowly fading away, the movie was true to its cause and nailed its purpose. Although the movie might not be appealing to all people especially the white population who have a little affiliation and interest in it, it still remains a timeless, iconic piece of art that will reign and haunt our society for a long time to come
Straus, Emily E. Death of a Suburban Dream: Race and Schools in Compton, California. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. (42)
Westhoff, Ben. Original Gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and the Birth of West Coast Rap., 2016. (432)
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