Urban Film Machismo
About the experience of the Urban film industry and how in the United Kingdom, this seems to be one of the only depictions of the young Black British male on television and cinema, leaving the viewer with the prototype-stereotype of British Society.
Ever since the evolution of Rap music at the end of the 1970’s; the symbolism of the Rap/Hip-Hop beat, problems of the Black inner Cities and the toughness of the Black Male have been romantically entwined on both sides of the Atlantic. In its youth rap music doctrine was to address the problems of the inner cities due mainly to political neglect of cultural needs, of a race of people who were at the time just beginning to truly appreciate themselves for just being themselves.
As Rap music was becoming successful all over the world, just as punk music had done to change the language culture of people being themselves; so this new genre music was to have the same effect of changing people’s view of themselves in the world, but with far more reaching consequences. The language of music is so powerful that eventually it can reach other art forms such as film.
The Punk genre was about rebellion of youth that shocked a whole generation because of Punk’s in your face attitude.
Rap music was rebellion of another kind. It was there primarily for Black youth to create there own music expression of a political establishment they felt had left them behind in society. This rap music form went far much deeper than this though, it was linked with a Black Male Machismo, due in part to gang crews firstly from districts in New York that spread to Black Inner Cities States all over America and eventually all over the world.
The language of Rap film was at the beginning to show the world what Rap musical expression was all about. The Rap beat, fashion style, Graffiti Art, and if the will be it, the political turmoil of inner city crime and violence.
In the beginning the new musical film expression was linked with American Independent cinema that stuck to the rap/hip-hop physiology in dealing with problems that faced a black community, till Hollywood got hold of its lapels and bought in a more adult orientated version of urban American independent cinema. The one thing that has always been there in Rap/Hip-Hop Cinema is the link of the Black Male Machismo (Tough Men).It is as if Hip-Hop/Urban cinema must show Black Male Aggression always in relation to Violence. This could be shown in the gun, shop robbery or with just a fist in a boxing punch-up. The damaging effect of this is that the cultural analysts and theorists always write about this Machismo toughness in the context and rhetoric of the psychological brain of the Black male in society. These forms of expression will always be linked with racial stereotypes in history.
In Black Hip-Hop/Urban Film we always link Machismo with the Black Male. We rarely see or hear solutions that nurture this machismo toughness.
John Singleton came out with his debut film “Boyz in the Hood” in 1991. He was a mere Twenty Three years of age when he wrote and directed this masterpiece. This film was the first in a trilogy of films that looked at the role of the Black urban male who has to deal with a whole range of obstacles in an environment of Bleak Violence and toughness. The film came out at a time when the genre of Hip-Hop (now Rap music’s new name) and inner city life were becoming more merged together. Urban film was being linked with the Hip-Hop aesthetic portraying the Black Male as Violent, and Street-Sassy.
Black Males were joining gangs because it gave them status on the streets, which had been denied in family life and society status.
This was a doctrine all about survival for the fittest first, consequences later.
Occasionally black American males were being gunned down in their own neighbourhoods and rarely could you find films that offered solutions to these problems of Gang violence. What’s more, Film Directors of these urban films would want to always up the ante for violence on the screen from a previous film that had become popular.
Allen and Albert Hughes (Twins) wrote and directed Menace II Society in 1993. They were both 20 years of age at the time. This film’s success as an urban film can lay claim to a film like Boyz in the Hood; its depiction of inner city violence on the screen though was more gruesome than Boyz. Some parts of the film looked like a horror movie. If you want proof of this you only have to look at the Video/DVD cover to realise this.