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4-Part Doc Series 'The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop' Coming To VH1 2/14

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
October 30, 2013 12:08 PM
2 Comments
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Continuing to reinforce its classification as the black TV network that isn't referred to as a black TV network, VH1 is teaming up with filmmakers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman and author, advertising executive, and record executive Steve Stoute for a 4-part documentary series based on Stoute's best-selling book, The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy.

To be titled The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop, the 4-parter will give audiences what the press release describes as a thorough examination of hip-hop as a cultural movement, whose profound influence in music, film, television, fashion, business, race relations and politics eventually paved the way for the election of Barack Obama.

The 4-part 4-hour series will premiere in February 2014 on VH1.

For the rest of the story, read on below, from the release:

VH1's "The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop" provides a visual history of the hip-hopification of America - what Stoute calls "tanning" -- from "The Jeffersons" to the Fresh Prince; from "Do the Right Thing" to "8 Mile"; from the streets of Compton to Madison Ave; from block parties to the Hamptons; and from rappers to entrepreneurs to icons. The series unfolds in 4 one-hour episodes that together explore history's pivotal tanning moments from the 1970's to present day, and show how hip-hop is deeply woven into the American cultural fabric. It's the history of hip-hop remixed: an epic journey that begins in the Bronx and travels all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Through engaging and intimate first person stories, "Tanning" takes viewers where they've never been before: inside a steamy Madison Square Garden, when Russell Simmons cut a deal with Adidas sneakers during a Run DMC concert... inside the Harvard dorm room where two white Jewish kids decide to start The Source magazine... inside the car of fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger, as he drives through the streets of Harlem finding inspiration in baggy jeans... to the streets of Paris as Diddy takes over Europe for a Vogue fashion shoot... to a New York music studio where Mariah Carey collaborates with O.D.B, forever fusing pop and hip hop; and with Dr Dre as he first hears a rapper who calls himself Eminem.

Over the last three decades, hip-hop culture has been transformed from an underground urban movement to mass culture, permeating virtually every aspect of American life: the music we listen to, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the cars we drive. Hip-hop has done more to erase perceptions about racial distinctions for the generations that grew up exposed to it than any other force since the Civil Rights Movement. There's now a whole generation of Americans who grew up immersed in this culture that are, for all intents and purposes, colorblind. This is the true story of that evolution.

VH1's "The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop" features never-seen-before footage and interviews from numerous pop culture icons and entertainment personalities in America: Diddy, Dr Dre, Mariah Carey, Will.i.am, Russell Simmons, Pharrell, Nas, Reverend Run, Rick Rubin, Fab 5 Freddy, Jimmy Iovine, Al Sharpton, Cory Booker, Brett Ratner, Brian Grazer, Tommy Hilfiger, Ron Howard, Steve Stoute and many more.

"The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop" is produced by Rakontur, with Billy Corben directing and Alfred Spellman producing. Steve Stoute is an executive producer on the project. Executive producing for VH1 are Susan Levison, Ben Zurier, Shelly Tatro, Brad Abramson and Stephen Mintz.

VH1's Emmy Award winning Rock Docs are feature-length documentaries that tell unique stories of artists and music from a wide range of genres, styles and musical perspectives.

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2 Comments

  • BluTopaz | October 30, 2013 2:15 PMReply

    "and politics eventually paved the way for the election of Barack Obama." (I know this is from the press release)

    Incredible how so many people insist on overstating the relevance of hip hop. So now we will learn that without rap music (cuz that's really all the "movement" is about) , America would not have elected a Black Harvard educated attorney/professor/senator. Will there be a segment dedicated to the "assassinations" of Tupac and Biggie also? And how did hip hop affect race relations, aside from teaching the whole world that it's ok to freely use the word "n---" and insist that all Black people use this word so it's fine. Maybe they'll have segments that teach how to go from being a crack dealer/pimp/hustla to international rap star. Can't wait.

  • Alias | October 30, 2013 1:29 PMReply

    Interesting, not one female interviewee is named in the press release. ... For that reason it should be renamed, "The Man-ing of America."

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