Ava DuVernay and Issac Klotz Show R/Kain Blaze

It took decades to get R/Kain Blaze on camera. Ava DuVernay and Issac Klotz finally pulled it off with the official selection of the 2008 Pan African Film Festival, This is the Life. From the festival description:

In 1989, a collective of young artists gathered weekly at a small health food store in LA called “The Good Life.” Their mandate? To explore and expand the musical boundaries of hip hop. The little known story of a group of teenagers, who revolutionized hip hop by innovating the very rhyme patterns, melodic concepts and lyrical styles used by many of today’s biggest rap stars. While their innovations have yielded billions of dollars for the recording industry, the Good Life emcees have toiled in relative obscurity in the United States. But much like their jazz heroes of a bygone era, these street poets have garnered a rabid and musically sophisticated fan base abroad, with a cult-like following in Germany, Australia, France, England and Japan.

Ava Duvernay, photographybyhamilton.comI have not seen the film as yet. My flippant assumption is that it expands upon what is explored in FreeStyle—The Art of Rhyme (which features R/Kain Blaze’s mother, B. Hall, by the way).

R/Kain Blaze does make an effort to avoid putting himself on camera for many reasons that would immediately make a properly assimilated person laugh and then perhaps begin to harbor certain “shadowy” feelings. Like me, R/Kain Blaze can be “ominous” to certain people… The relatively brief appearances that must be in This is the Life represent a great leap forward for The Undefined.

As time goes on and we get older we realize that it is important to make a record (in small and big ways) for ourselves because of our children. In our poverty and our impoverished relationships it becomes abundantly clear that we cannot trust others to speak accurately on our behalf—even the mothers of our children. It then becomes our responsibility to get out there and establish our testimony as Black men. Let the children take measure of what we say and compare it to other stuff they have heard. It is way too goddamn easy to turn Black men into criminals. Ava DuVernay and Issac Klotz with the 2008 Pan African Film Festival make this crime just a little bit harder… Much appreciation!