‘Black August’ Screening Draws Chris Rock, Talib Kweli, More

Veteran journalist Dream Hampton spotlights benefit concert for political prisoners.

NEW YORK — Chris Rock, Talib Kweli and Dead Prez’s M-1 were among the attendees of veteran journalist Dream Hampton’s screening Thursday night for her documentary “Black August: A Hip-Hop Benefit Concert.”

The event, held at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, showcased the yearly tribute concert that has hosted performers such as Erykah Badu , Mos Def, Common, Dead Prez and David Banner in New York and South Africa.

In her film, Hampton features concert footage and interviews with a slew of activists.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in Brooklyn powers the concerts each year, and in her doc, Hampton seeks to spotlight issues like police brutality and racial injustice. The concert series and the film seek to address awareness about political prisoners, including Mutulu Shakur, the stepfather of late rap star Tupac Shakur.

“I think the cause of political prisoners in the hip-hop community wouldn’t be as relevant in the hip-hop community as it is if it wasn’t for [the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement],” Kweli says in the film. “And it certainly has a long way to go from 10 years ago, and I think it’s more relevant. The bridges that we build in South Africa and Cuba are important. Every year, the show is bigger and better and grander.”

Hampton, who has written about hip-hop and culture for The Source and Vibe magazines, among other publications, has labored over the project for years and is finally set to release the project by the end of the year.

The event was sponsored by ImageNation and hosted by M-1.

Are you looking forward to the Black August film? Let us know in the comments!