I love all varieties of music, EXCEPT for the one note “bitches and ho’s” hip-hop sub-genre, which is misogynist and glorifies murder and money. But, having said that, I have always loved Outkast and Andree Benjamin. Ever since I heard their song “The Whole World” I was hooked. To me, it’s THE best hip-hop song of the era. Andree Benjamin is a true musician. He can reinvent himself and his music to embody an epoch and is not afraid to branch out into other musical genres. This morning on HBO, I just finished watching Benjamin’s movie Idlewild and while the story was only passable, the music and dance numbers were outstanding. However, the true, unsung stars of the film were the general direction, editing, cinematography, and set direction. Beautiful! I love movies set in Depression era USA and in the old south. Idlewild recreates this era wonderfully. Editing deserves a nod as well. Camera angles, fades, and transitions, background paintings, and visuals were stunning! Big Boi is good as Rooster (love the talking flask and other surprising elements) and you get to see many of your favorite black actors: Cicely Tyson, Ben Vereen, and Ving Rhames, doing what they do so well. It’s a shame that some movies don’t get as much play or recognition simply because the actors are not the “right” color and I don’t recall any Oscars being handed out to Bryan Barber for Best Director, let alone any art awards. It’s a shame. Of course, I haven’t watched the Academy Awards since Billy Crystal was host and even then I only watched it for his monologue alone. They ceased to be relevant in the 1980s IF they were relevant at all! But I digress. I would recommend this movie despite the weak storyline just because it is a gorgeous mix of color and sound.


4 thoughts on “Idlewild

  1. I’m a huge music fan, yet most hip-hop passes me by. I think part of the reason is that it’s such a dense genre, such a labyrinth to negotiate one’s way through with a lot of jewels buried in the dirt along the way. But, Outkast are undeniable. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is up there with Blonde on Blonde, Exile on Main Street, and the White Album. You heard me. 😀

  2. Rob,
    Good point about the density. There is so much going on in hip-hop and so many cultural references that us white folks can’t get nor will we ever get. I have to shamefully admit I have a weakness for Eminem as well. How old did I say I am??

  3. MoI,

    As repugnant as Em came off, I think that “Stan” was one of the best singles of the 90s.

    As for all of the cultural references, it’s strange that my love for the blues and for classic soul music isn’t hampered by the fact that I’m not black, and not from the American south. I wonder if Hip Hop is the first genre created by black people without an agenda to sell to a white audience, and that audience came anyway.

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