Rap stars playing gangstas in movies — yawn. Miles Fielder explains why ICE CUBE’s move from the Hood to Hollywood is, however, another story
appers becoming movie
stars is nothing new. In
fact. it‘s so commonplace that it's almost a hip hop industry given. Ice T. 1.1. (‘ool J. Tupac Shakur. Snoop Dog. Iiminem. to name a few —- they‘ve all made the move to the big screen. That said. few rappers stretch themselves with film roles. Ice T retained his tough gangsta persona (as a narcotics cop in New .Iaek ('itv). ditto Snoop Dog (as cop snitch IIuggy Bear in the forthcoming Starsky anr/ [lute/I). while Iiminem opted for autobiography with 8 Mile. With chubby old Ice Cube. however. it‘s a different story.
Sure. (‘ube (aka ()‘Shea Jackson) has strolled down easy street — playing a street gang member alongside Ice T in 'I'respass and appearing in Hollywood dross such as Anaconda and Ghosts of Mars — btit there‘s more to this rap star‘s screen career than playing tough guys in crap movies. Take. for example. his debut. John Singleton‘s excellent and hugely influential I.os Angeles street gangs drama. Bay: N the [loud (released in 19‘”. the year after ('ube left his seminal hip hop troupe NWA). Here's a film that has something to say about the African—American urban youth experience. rather than merely promoting the posturing of its stars. Iirom there Ice (‘ube went on to work with Singleton again. in the less successful but more interesting Higher Learning. and got drafted to join (ieorge (‘looney and Mark Wahlberg
in David () Russell‘s brilliant anti- (first (iulf) war
black comedy. Three Kings.
It's unsurprising that Ice (‘ube should choose to make films that have something to say. Ilis musical output. after all. has always been charged with the social and political awareness of an over-educated suburban drop- out. I‘roni his compositions for NWA ('I"uck tha I’olice’. ‘(iangsta (iangsta‘) through to his solo work (most notably Death (‘erti/ieate. his ambitious concept album that attempted to define the black man‘s place in modern America). (‘ube had plenty to say. facetious or otherwise.
Just as he has steered his music career with the smartness of an artist who knows where he‘s going — band founder. solo performer. talent finder. production company owner ((‘ubevisiom. music promo director (for the Artist I-‘ormerly Known as Prince. among others) — so too has Ice (‘ube applied himself to film. In l‘)‘)5. four years and four lilms after Buy: N the [lam]. he got behind the camera to
28 THE LIST 7. its Ma' 7602
ICE CUBE HAS PLENTY TO SAY, FACETIOUS OR OTHERWISE
Torquing 'bout my generation
write and produce (and star in) the likeable stoner
homey comedy. Friday. a film that proved so popular it spawned two sequels. Next Friday and -- ho. ho —A lair/av After New. As if that wasn‘t enough. in 1998 (‘ube pushed his talents further to act. write. produce and direct The Players ('hil). a cautionary tale set in a Southern States black strip joint.
In his new lilm 'Iin‘r/ne. a high octane thriller. Ice (‘ube gets to play had again as the fearsome leader of a drug running motorcycle gang who is bent on avenging the death of his brother. An adequate. slick affair. 'Iiirr/iie is a strange choice when you consider that two years previously this hear of a man was mugging from the sidelines in the gently traditional comedy Barbers-hop (a film that was. ironically. slated by African-American leaders for taking the piss out of African-American leaders). (‘ube clearly has his own agenda.
(‘ube still has the ability to totally flunimox his fans look no further than the surprise announcement that he‘ll be replacing Vin I)eisel as the action hero in sequel to .t'Xt'. Ice ('ube‘s big chill may have only just begun.
Torque is on general release from Thu 4 Mar.
ROUGHCUTS Lights. camera. action!
IT'S COMING AROUND AGAIN 80 get your finger out. for God's sake! The closing date for Submissions for the Cameo Cinema Jim Poole Short Film Award is Friday 12 March. An award ceremony will take place on Sunday 30 May at 2pm when the ten shortlisted films will be screened and the victor announced. He or she will receive a cheque for $1000 and distribution for their short film with Picturehouse cinemas throughout the UK. The producer and director will receive a network pass for the EIFF in August 2004. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a submission form.
FILM KU-UMBA LAUNCHES African Film Festival - two weeks of films dedicated to African culture - taking place at Carnival Arts, 34 Albion St, Merchant City, Glasgow from Saturday 6th March-Thursday 19 March. The festival launches at 8pm and will include a trio of films by local filmmakers. Films to be shown across the fortnight showcase prolific African filmmakers such as John Akomfrah with his documentary Seven Songs for Malcolm X, for which songs, citations and interviews are used to tell the story of the controversial black leader who was assassinated in 1965. On the other end of the spectrum, The Happily Ever After Stories are classic animated fairytales with an Afro-centric twist and featuring the voices of Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg and Denzel Washington.
DON‘T MISS THE LAST FEW weeks of the superb Sheffield International Documentary Festival. It has already been to Glasgow and is Currently sitting at the F'ilmhouse in Edinburgh. Highlights include The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Barn/yam (pictured) and The Other Final.
The Boy Who. . .