by Heinrich Domingo
This film brings the audience into the inside of the gangsta rap culture. It is stinky. It exudes violence, sex, and drugs. But, Straight Outta Compton offers no apology for its ‘art is a reflection of its reality.’
Beautifully interwove in the gangsta rap songs of N.W.A is the discourse of colorism, police brutality, and power resistance. As the movie-goers engage in riots, drug sessions, and police arrests, they are introduced to the concept of black people’s plight towards equal rights. It is a dark and gruesome trail. Yet, as viewers learn the ropes of this culture, they begin to unknowingly participate in the characters’ advocacy.
Most of the time, films that tackle racial discrimination remain to be highly elitist. For the likes of The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird, and 12 Years a Slave, their cinematic presentation does not appeal to the popular audience. This results in the alienation of the concept of racism.
In this movie, its makers rightfully chose the lives of famous rappers to serve as a foundation of its plot. In so doing, it creates a bridge connecting the film’s advocacies to the public. As people see the beginnings of pop icons Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E, they can easily sympathize with their struggles. Jumpstarting from this premise, the film continued to further its discussion through quoting the personal experience of these artists.
Despite the story-line’s timeline set in the 1980s t0 90s, the teachings on resistance continue to be relevant. This, in a way, exhibits the ingenuity of the filmmakers. Straight Outta Compton transcends time for its stories continue to exist today. Its version of truth reflects the reality in our society which we live in every day.
It is easy for viewers to scratch the film’s surface revealing the social commentary in various scenes and lines of characters. In the frames of the ghetto life, police beatings, and black discrimination, the film screams for justice and equality.
The black’s resistance against white supremacy was exquisitely discussed through series of beats and endless raps. There could be no clearer way to oust the power-holders than the repeated singing of N.W.A.’s Fuck the Police. It could have been easier for the film to fall for a glamorous and heroic presentation of this revolution. But, Straight Outta Compton stands firm in its principle that the fight for racial discrimination can be anything but romantic. It chooses to showcase a reality that does not care if its viewers get annihilated with its ‘crass’ content. It tells the story of gangsta rap culture in its purest form.
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