BLACK STAR looks at Hip Hop stars turned big screen actors in classics including: Boyz n the Hood, Set It Off, Friday, Juice, New Jack City, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, House Party and Gridlock’d

As part of its BLACK STAR season, the UK’s largest ever celebration of black actors in film and television, the BFI is bringing audiences back to the thrilling days when Hip Hop stars first made bold, successful moves into acting.  Presented by Sonic Cinema and in association with MOBO Film, the Hip Hop weekender will take place from 4 -6 November at the BFI Southbank in London and feature film screenings, DJ sets and a family funday.

A Hip Hop weekend would not be complete without live music from a few of London’s top DJs: The Doctor’s Orders, Time Out’s ‘kings of the capital’s Hip Hop scene’, join BFI Southbank to present a club night for adults on Friday, 4 November and a special morning club event called FUN DMC, for kids and parents on Sunday, 6 November. WORK IT, on the scene since 2008, will bring their 90s hip hop and RnB tracks to the BFI Southbank following the screenings on Saturday, 5 November.

BLACK STAR Family Funday, which will take place at the BFI Southbank on Sunday, 6 November will include a screening of Joe Pytka’s Space Jam (1996), starring Michael Jordan, Bill Murray and Danny DeVito; and a Daytime Block Party with music from The Doctor’s Orders, dancing and a chance for kids to master their basketballs skills with players from the London School of Basketball.

Screenings:

Boyz n the Hood (dir. John Singleton, 1991)
boyz-n-the-hood-01Wednesday 02 & Thursday 03 November screenings
Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr, Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Ice Cube
Synopsis: Tre Styles (Gooding Jr), is a young man struggling to navigate life in a community ravaged by police harassment, drug addiction, poverty and gang violence. Singleton’s powerful story is intensified by a superb cast, including Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne as Tre’s at-odds parents and rapper Ice Cube’s charismatic screen debut as troubled gangbanger Doughboy. Today, with tension between black communities and the police in America at fever pitch.

Set it Off (dir. F. Gary Gray, 1996)
set-it-off-01Friday 04 November 2016 18:15
Cast: Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise
Synopsis: Twenty years ago, F. Gary Gray (Friday, Straight Outta Compton) put together an iconic quartet in Latifah, Pinkett-Smith, Fox and Elise, playing a tight-knit group who decide to rob banks to overcome financial hardship. Taking matters into their own hands display an unapologetically subversive black female agency.

Friday (dir. F. Gary Gray, 1995)
friday-01Friday 04 November 2016 21:10
Cast: Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long, Bernie Mac
Synopsis: This hilarious stoner-buddy-movie was the first film that Ice Cube turned into a franchise. Craig and Smokey (Tucker’s first starring role) need to come up with $200 by 10pm to pay back a dealer for smoking his weed. In their quest to raise funds, the duo encounter the eccentric inhabitants of their neighbourhood, including the ill-fated Felisha.

Juice (dir. Ernest R. Dickerson)
juice-01Saturday 05 November 2016 20:40
Cast: Tupac Shakur, Omar Epps, Kahil Kain, Jermain Hopkins, Queen Latifah
Synopsis: Dickerson coaxes a riveting turn from Shakur in his feature acting debut. He plays one of four Harlem teens whose pursuit of the eponymous “juice” (respect and power) turns fatal when their mischief escalates.  Juice insightfully explores the conflicts of urban living.

New Jack City (dir. Mario Van Peebles)
new-jack-city-01Saturday 05 November 2016 18:15
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, Ice T,Allen Payne
Synopsis: Just one year before Ice-T released “Cop Killer”, he shone as an NYPD stalwart opposite Wesley Snipes’ glowering narcotics tycoon Nino Brown. An intelligent critique of rampant Reagan-era capitalism, Van Peebles’ Harlem-set cult classic encapsulates the unique sound and aesthetic of New Jack Swing, and boasts a striking early appearance from a young Chris Rock.

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 1999)
ghost-dog-way-of-the-samurai-01Sunday 06 November 2016 16:00
Cast: Forest Whitaker, Isacch De Bankolé, Cliff Gorman
Synopsis: This surreal and stylish fable stars the imposing Forest Whitaker, a genuinely unique screen presence, as a self-taught samurai hitman who finds himself marked for death by the mafia. Blessed with stunning cinematography from Robby Müller and a brilliant original score from Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA.

House Party (dir. Reginald Hudin, 1990)
house-party-01Sunday 06 November 2016 18:30
Cast: Christopher Reid, Christopher Martin, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Martin Lawrence, George Clinton
Synopsis: Missing Play’s party when the hottest girl in school will be there just isn’t an option: with his dad and school bullies in pursuit, Kid risks it all and sneaks out. House Party is brimming with delightful teen movie tropes and boasts a now-iconic rap battle and dance-off.

Gridlock’d (dir. Vondie Curtis-Hall)
gridlockd-01Sunday 06 November 2016 20:40
Cast: Tupac Shakur, Thandie Newton, Tim Roth
Synopsis: This darkly comic indie explores Detroit’s underbelly as it follows two musicians on the run from local police and gangsters when they decide to quit heroin after their bandmate overdoses. Tupac Shakur’s talent, allure and beauty are etched on to every scene, while Newton and Roth sizzle and charm offering a real sense of the camaraderie amongst artists.

Space Jam (dir. Joe Pytka, 1996)
space-jam-01Sunday 06 November 2016 13:30
Cast: Michael Jordan, Bill Murray and Danny DeVito
Synopsis: Be prepared for the most extraordinary basketball game of them all: the alien ‘Monstars’ vs the Looney Tunes, let by NBA star Michael Jordan. If they Looney Tunes lose, the evil owner of intergalactic theme park will keep them as his new attraction! Featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and all the favourites, this mix of live action and animations is a blast. Hip Hop titans B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J, and Method Man combined for its memorable theme song “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars’ Anthem)”


The BFI’s BLACK STAR season, which will run until the end of the year, is the UK’s biggest season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors. The season’s aim is to bring the work of black actors to a new generation of UK audiences, helping to reposition them and their performances in our collective memory.

BLACK STAR will be available to audiences everywhere in the UK; in cinemas including BFI Southbank, on BBC Television, on BFI DVD/Blu-ray and online via BFI Player from 17 October – 31 December.

The full BLACK STAR Hip Hop Weekender programme can be found here