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Hip-Hop Musical Explores the Past and Present of Racism in America

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    Dallas, TX (Dallas Weekly) — Award-winning self-proclaimed “raptivist,” music producer, and filmmaker, Justin Rhodes, will be debuting his first feature film tomorrow night in South Dallas. The film will be playing at the Forest Theater located at 1920 MLK Blvd as part of their Summer Drive-In series.

It’s a Wonderful Plight is a hip-hop musical that explores that explores the obvious pains and nuances of racism through a unique lens. Rhodes stars in his own film as Josef the Hotep, a tongue-in-cheek nod to the popular and oft-misused term coined to describe the ultra Afrocentric. Rhodes’ character is sort of a ghost of America’s past, who guides Scott, a white man played by actor Brian Shorkey, through the history of racism in America, as well as into present day.

In his first film, Justin Rhodes also explores the future of Black America. (Courtesy: Justin Rhodes)

“I think it’s a unique film that hasn’t been created before. I’ve always wanted to create art that hasn’t been made yet, and I really think It’s a Wonderful Plight: A Hip-Hop Musical is the first film of its kind”

Josef the Hotep tells the stories of former slaves, of people like Fred Hampton, an activist in the Black Panther Party who lost his life early at the hands of Chicago PD, and of Botham Jean, who was killed right here in Dallas by an off-duty cop. These stories are told through song, which has long been an outlet in Black culture for the expression of pain, triumph, anger, love, sadness, and joy. Of course, Rhodes produced the music for this film as well.

“It’s just another way to get our message out and provoke change,” Rhodes iterates. “People love our culture. They love our athletic abilities, they love our musical talent, they love our artistic talent. When we couldn’t get into their establishments, our talent would get us into their establishments. So, it’s the same thing we’ve been telling people, but we’re telling them in a real cool, creative way. If you’re not gonna listen to us talk, you’re not gonna listen when we march, when you do it through art, people are just more apt to listen.”

In the film, Rhodes also explores the future of Black America. When asked what’s his vision for the future, he wants to see the perception of Black people change, he wants real policy change, and real betterment of Black people. “I don’t want my children or grandchildren to still be going through the same things that we do.” Rhodes’ goal for the film is to shine a light on the plight of Black America and to encourage allyship.

The viewing will be begin at 7 p.m. at the Forest Theater, but Rhodes advises viewers to arrive early to ensure parking.

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