NEW YORK — [artist id="1110"]Ol’ Dirty Bastard[/artist] was a larger-than-life character. Now, the [artist id="1025"]Wu-Tang Clan[/artist] rapper has a eulogy that’s as extravagant as he was with the documentary “Dirty: One Word Can Change the World.”
The long-in-the-making project was finally released as a straight-to-DVD set Tuesday. To celebrate the project, ImageNation presented a screening at the National Black Theatre in Harlem last night. ODB’s mother, Cherry Jones, and other family members attended the intimate affair.
“Dirty,” directed by ODB’s cousin Raison Allah, set out to answer the question: Who was Dirty? The charismatic and often-troubled rapper went by as many monikers as there were members of the Wu, from Big Baby Jesus to Osirus to Ason Unique. Throughout the 90-minute project, all the members of the Clan, Wu affiliate groups and relatives supply the answer.
“He did a lot of good for people,” his grandmother said. “All the harm he did was to himself.”
In one of the most touching moments in “Dirty,” the rapper’s parents sit together on camera and recall some of their son’s most memorable antics.
“When they told him to lay down, he said, ‘Catch me running,’ ” she explained of the time the rapper was shot in the back after a robbery attempt against him.
His father wasn’t nearly as playful when he discussed ODB’s infamous visit to the welfare office in a limousine with MTV News.
“He was the master of publicity,” he said.
Wu-Tang rapper U-God and Sticky Fingaz recounted Dirty’s controversial stage crash at the Grammy Awards.
The day before his Grammy antics, ODB made headlines when he rescued a 4-year-old girl who was trapped underneath a car after being struck by the vehicle. The girl, Maati Lavell, and her mother spoke about the incident, praising Dirty for his bravery in the moment.
But toward the end of the film, friends and family of the late rapper — who died in November 2004 — grow somber as they recall his last year alive. The rapper was jailed and institutionalized after a series of probation violations and bizarre behavior. They claim the medication Dirty was forced to take, coupled with the rapper feeling pressured to live up to his many monikers, ultimately led to his demise.
“That medicine changed him,” one of his younger cousins explained. “It changed him in a way he couldn’t help it.”
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