"Belly," video director Hype Williams' big screen debut, is slated to open in theaters nationwide today, but you won't be able to see it in any of the cinemas owned by former basketball star Magic Johnson.
In a statement, the Magic Johnson Theater Chain criticized "Belly" for its "overwhelmingly negative and violent depiction's of African-Americans, as well as potential to create disruptive situations for our theaters' patrons and employees."
Johnson owns three movie-houses located in predominantly black neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston.
In response to the theater chain's claims, Williams fired back that "censoring this film is akin to turning a blind eye to what's happening in today's cities. I appeal to the filmgoers and ask that people examine the film and its message with dialogue and reflection."
As we previously reported (see "Hype Williams, Nas On Reality Of 'Belly's' Surroundings"),
"Belly" stars rappers DMX and Nas as two childhood friends and hustlers who find themselves at odds when they hook up for one last score.