Uprising: Hip Hop and The LA Riots

Director Mark Ford
United States / 65 min. / 2012 / English

Police brutality and apartheid paved the way for the riots of 1991, which hip-hop spent years predicting. Three days of inhumane fury retold in sublime detail by rappers (Snoop Dogg, Ice T, Ice Cube...), filmmakers (John Singleton), and citizens. 


It’s happened before: Hip-hop as an oracle and herald of an historical fact or political process. But this might just be the most notorious case of it. Uprising: Hip-hop and the L.A. Riots, opens at the moment the fuse was lit (the Rodney King beating in March 1991) and the moment the first explosion of anger (when the jury acquitted the police). From there, it proceeds to first make history – recreating the atmosphere of police brutality and apartheid that was institutionalized in the zone since the ‘60s and the Watts revolts; continuing with the crack wars of the ‘80s, and then going flat out in overwhelming detail: a minute by minute account of what happened in those three days of unstoppable fury, spontaneous protests and occasional outbreaks of citizen dehumanization, racism within racism (blacks against Koreans), and blind rage. It’s hardly surprising that the majority of the narrators are rappers, because half of them were there and spent years predicting the explosion (Snoop Dogg, Ice T, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and NWA at full throttle, KRS-One, Too Short...) but we also hear from filmmakers like John Singleton and tens of ordinary folks. An essential film.


Director Mark Ford is a CNN veteran. His debut feature was the television documentary NWA: The Most Dangerous Group (2008). This is his second full-length film, on which he collaborated with executive producer Brad Abramson.



Showing format

in festivals
SXSW; New York Film Festival; CIMMFest; XPN Music Film Festival

Nas, Ice T, NWE, Dr Dre, Hemry Rollins, KRS one , John Singleton, Snoop Dog

Mark Ford

Robert Benavides, Scott Marshall, Jeffrey NIchols

Sound designer
Ken Dahlinger

Wesley Jones

Film company
VH1, Creature Films

Film distributor

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