Letter to the President - Review

A hiphop perspective

By Lena Stahlschmidt

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This film takes a look into the world of politics through a hip-hop lens. It follows the American hip-hop movement from the 80’s to present. Through the voices of the hip-hop community issues such as the war on drugs, Regan presidency, crack epidemic, racial profiling, patriot act, censorship, police brutality, poverty, the industrial prison complex and many other political issues were discussed in relation to their impact on hip-hop.

The underlying inter-connecting issue throughout the film is racism and stereotypes. As it follows American politics it looks at the way hip-hop has been used for those marginalized and oppressed by the racist politic system to have their voices and stories heard and make a difference. It also looks into the current control that corporations and companies have over hip-hop music and how that has contributed to (mainstream) hip-hop loosing its political voice. It explores how companies have used hip-hop culture, which originated as a resistance to inequalities, to advertise as a way to make money that in turn maintains inequalities.

The film presented many issues that I have previously read, studied and heard about however, looking at it through a hip-hop perspective gave me new insight and a broader perspective on many of the issues.

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