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Movies that Matter
In honour of the first official Film Friday I’m posting the following:
As a guy who loves hip hop I’m always nervous when checking out musicians I don’t know. You just can’t be sure when your joyful booty shaking is going to come to a screeching halt brought on by a hateful, sexist lyric. So I was especially excited to check out this new documentary, Counting Headz - South Afrika’s Sistaz in Hip Hop, which screened at a hip hop festival in Toronto this summer. The film was made by a Canadian woman, Erin Offer, and a South African man, Vusi Magubane. Erin spent some time in South Africa and was watching hours of footage of hip hop shows for an archiving job she had. She describes the decision to make Counting Headz on the movie’s myspace page:
Where were the women? I knew they were there; what I wanted to find out was– why can’t I see them? I soon informed Vusi that I’d found his next project: a documentary on women in hip hop. Of course! The South Afrikan should do it, right? Or should the woman do it? Turns out the South Afrikan and the Woman brought out Counting Headz together.
And the film does succeed in showing where the women are. They’re storming the stages, mixing the beats, and painting the walls all over the country. I loved this film for its articulate interviews, electric live performances, and great footage of South African street life.
Although Counting Headz focuses solely on the South African hip hop scene you can’t help but wonder how closely it resembles the experiences of women involved in hip hop in North America.