Aug 5, 2009

Slingshot Hip Hop (Directed by Jackie Reem Salloum)

This film follows young, Palestinian artists living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel, and how their adoption of hip-hop expands a legacy of narrative lyricism. Separated from one another by the internal checkpoints, spiraling walls and poverty that are the hallmarks of the Israeli occupation, these artists sling rhymes and rocks to resist bulldozers and firearms and inspire their communities.

The documentary features the charismatic group DAM, whose members live in Israel with second-rate citizenship (known as the Arabs of 1948) because their grandparents are Palestinian. Their hit single “Who’s the Terrorist?” is credited with sparking the Arab hip-hop wave. The film also chronicles those in the West Bank like feminist soloist Abeer and the group Arapeyat, who are scrabbling conventional gender roles, and members of the group Palestinian Rapperz, who are struggling to break free of the barricaded neighborhood in Gaza and ongoing military attacks.

Director Jackie Reem Salloum poignantly juxtaposes gritty, handheld personal shots of the resistance with formidable hip-hop performances to create a politically powerful and emotionally charged film. She’s received standing ovations and awards around the world for this first feature-length documentary. Check out slingshothiphop.com to buy the DVD or rent it on Netflix.com.

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