Friday, September 23, 2011

Video of Barry Michael Cooper Moderating The Planet Rock Doc Panel @ The Paley Center 12 September 2011

from left to right: Melle Mel, Martin Torgoff, Richard Lowe, Nelson George, Azie Faison, Ice T, Barry Michael Cooper-photo credit: Paley Center

By Barry Michael Cooper

Last Monday (12 September 2011), I was blessed to moderate the panel for the screening for VH1's groundbreaking documentary on the history of crack cocaine in America, "Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation."
Barry Michael Cooper-photo credit: S. Mack/Wireimage
Narrated and executive produced by actor, emcee, and burgeoning media mogul Ice T, and produced by Martin Torgoff and Richard Lowe, "Planet Rock," is an unflinching and in depth examination of the crack cocaine epidemic in America during the 1980s, and the sweeping, cataclysmic effect it had on politics, economics, culture, and society as a whole. I was also honored to be a participant (and unofficial consultant) on the VH1 "Planet Rock" documentary.

Speaking of culture, crack cocaine had an enormous impact on Hip Hop, and more than 25 years later, how we listen and respond and absorb the music now, is much different from the time when rap music was about having a good time and positive empowerment (mainly among disenfranchised African-Americans and Latinos) during the regressive political construct engineered by the Reagan Administration.
Left to Right: Nelson George, Barry Michael Cooper, Azie Faison, Ice T-photo credit: Getty Images
If you haven't seen "Planet Rock" yet on VH1--it premiered last Sunday night on 18 September 2011--do yourself a favor and not only watch it, but DVR-it, too; it is informative, educational, and truly inspiring, television. The filmmakers--writer-producer Martin Torgoff, and director-producer Richard Lowe--and the executive producers Ice T, Brad Abramson, and Stephen Mintz, are to be commended creating such a memorable, important, and historic film. I would not be surprised if they were nominated for an Emmy in 2012, GOD Willing.
Left to Right: Ice T, Barry Michael Cooper-photo credit: Michael Priest  Photography/Paley Center
Immediately after the 12 September "Planet Rock" screening at the breathtaking Paley Center in midtown Manhattan, I hosted an engagingly intuitive and cogently spirited panel, which consisted of a few of the participants in the film; the producers Ice T, Martin Torgoff, and Richard Lowe, Hip Hop legend Melle Mel, former crack dealer-turned filmmaker, author, and keen socio-observer Azie Faison, prolific author, filmmaker, cultural critic, and television producer, Nelson George. The discussion was dynamic, reflective, edgy, and honest. I was given an hour, but that passed like a minute. The audience wanted more, and so did I. Underneath this graph is a short clip from that night, and I am in the process of acquiring more clips from that momentous night. I will post more clips in the days/weeks to come, GOD Willing. In the meantime, you can live vicariously through this blog post.

Be sure to pick up Barry Michael Cooper's (The screenwriter of "New Jack City," "Sugar Hill," and "Above The Rim") new anthology of '80s street reporting from the crack-era, "Hooked On The American Dream-Vol.1: New Jack City Eats Its Young," available exclusively on Kindle/Amazon. Only $1.99! Amazon/Kindle has a free, downloadable app for all computers and mobile devices. Click here to go to the "Hooked On The American Dream-Vol.1:New Jack City Eats Its Young" Kindle store site. Thank you for visiting Hooked On The American Dream and the book. Have a Blessed day.

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