“We’re really paying homage to all those people in the past.. we wouldn’t have had any of these ideas if it wasn’t for any of those people”- Meechy Darko
The influence of Hip-Hop in the mainstream is unrivaled, the expressiveness, intensity and culture defining nature of this movement must be respected by insiders and outsiders alike. ‘Headstone’ by Flatbush Zombies stands as a timely embrace of this legacy.
During an interview with Genius, Meechy- Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick Arc Elliott speak on the inspiration behind their masterful celebration of Hip-Hop through their track ‘Headstone’. In this interview, Meechy- Darko states that “People don’t care about the past like at all really. I think that’s why the song is cool because were paying homage… We’re really just doing lyrical exercises which is what Hip-Hop is about”
The energy of their intertextual exploration is highlighted in these four moments;
“I’m feelin’ Infamous, Immortal with my Technique, a Revolutionary shinin’ with diamond teeth”
“Only God Can Judge Me slippin’, I’m infinitely Big Pimpin'”
“I’m livin’ how I wanna, no Reasonable Doubt, it’s clear to see, All Eyez on Me, 400 Degreez”
“They say Jesus Walks and the Devil wear Prada, but I’m So, So Def, God can’t tell me nothing”
Because mumble rap just won’t do.
To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight. — E.E. Cummings
Moonlight, an adaption of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play ‘In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue’, written and directed by Barry Jenkins represents a cathartic breakthrough in mainstream black cinema. The movie details the coming of age of the character initially known as ‘little’ and his search for identity. This exploration of human complexity in popular culture- often denied to black characters on screen, through such immersive cinematography makes Moonlight a deeply impactful cultural artefact.
The film unflinchingly embraces the charge of French philosopher Albert Camus towards the artist, to create dangerously as a voice of resistance and ultimately liberation of society. Moonlight stands boldly as a rejection of the suffocating social script of black masculinity, sexuality and self-expression. It ultimately contributes to the restorative process of humanity towards a people historically denied this crucial voice.
The presence of Juan, a drug dealer who honourably becomes a surrogate father for little, helping him navigate the burdens of his drug addicted mother and his sexual identity is crucial in the film. The intimacy of this relationship is evidenced by Juan teaching little how to swim. However, the harrowing fact is Juan is the same person selling crack to little’s mother. This multiplicity of character is incredibly instructive, it strikingly illustrates how one can exist simultaneously as liberator and imprisoner, a source of hope and a contributor to despair and as both wisdom and folly.
It is thrilling to witness these themes being explored through bodies that look blue in the moonlight.