Upcoming Doc, ‘Burn, Motherf***er, Burn!’ Explores Origins and Legacy of L.A. Riots

By Sameer Rao Mar 17, 2017

Showtime announced yesterday (March 16) that "Burn Motherfucker, Burn!"—a new documentary chronicling the 1992 Los Angeles riots‘ basis in long-standing animosity between Angelenos of color and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)—will premiere April 21 at 9 p.m. EDT.

According to the cable network’s press release, the documentary takes a holistic look at not just the unrest itself, but its genesis and legacy. Those origins include the LAPD’s 1962 raid on a Nation of Islam mosque, the 1965 Watts Riots in response to racist policing and decades of political neglect that fueled growing poverty and gang culture. Director Sacha Jenkins ("Fresh Dressed") connects these events and surrounding context to the videotaped 1991 beating of Rodney King by four LAPD officers, whose 1992 acquittal by a jury with no Black members bred the outrage manifest in those riots. The film also explores the aftermath of the riots and the ensuing struggles for racial justice.

"Burn Motherfucker, Burn!" features interviews with congresswoman Karen Bass, current LAPD chief Charlie Beck, journalist Dee Barnes, Colorlines co-founder Jeff Chang and numerous Los Angeles residents of different races who lived through the uprising.

The 90-minute doc’s April 21st premiere comes a week before the 25th anniversary of the officers’ acquittal. It is one of several productions, including the Spike Lee-directed version of Roger Guenveur Smith’s "Rodney King," scheduled to commemorate this anniversary.

(H/t The New York Times)