CONTRIBUTE TO OUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN 

EDITOR’S LETTER

So you might be wondering why another documentary about hip-hop, why the writers and why now?

A few years ago, I was the Editor-in-Chief of an online hip-hop publication and realized that I didn’t know any of the journalists. My mental at the time matched a few names with faces, but there wasn’t substantial information about these people to be found. I went to Google and practically fell down a rabbit hole trying to find out more information about the people behind the pen. Things like, what they looked like, what they sounded like or why they started writing in the first place. I had so many questions about them personally and about their love for hip-hop. But unfortunately I couldn’t find anything online.This led me on my own journey to start collecting magazines. I was born in some say the greatest year of hip-hop, 1988, so with that said it wasn’t like I was reading Rap Pages or Stress Magazine. I wasn’t buying those magazines back then, but I do remember seeing them around when I visited my uncles and cousins, because that’s what they were reading. And that’s when hip-hop chose me, I didn’t really have a choice.

I started to ponder the question, “Who tells the story of the storyteller when they’re the ones telling everyone else’s story?”

The stories in those pages and the people who told them mattered to me.  These journalists captured so much history and information with their pens and pads. They had connections to musical history that my generation would never understand, but would want to.  They grew up with people who would become legends. And they too would be legends in their own right. They grew up with hip-hop. The same way it chose me, hip-hop chose them too. I was clear that they had the answers to all my questions. And I wondered why a documentary on these writers had not been done yet. For the people coming up in the 80s and 90s, these journalists were the Internet. They were the gatekeepers of hip-hop history. Sure you could get some info from the radio or on television, but to get the real juice, you had to pick up a magazine.  After I started collecting these magazines I realized that many of these journalists were the same age I was when they started writing about hip-hop. They lived in the crux of that love-hate relationship between being critical and writing about something that you love, and the juxtaposition between the two. As I struggled with writing and not really wanting to be an artist or executive, I looked to them for guidance on how to figure out my place in this culture. I knew what I wanted to create was different, and like these writers, I wanted to form a lane of my own that would change the game.

For me these writers gave me permission to do something that I loved without a blueprint.

Fast forward to today, and this documentary serves as a digital thank you letter to the original historians and ghostwriters of hip-hop as we know it. What we know and love of hip-hop comes from the pens of people who dared to give a voice to a culture most thought wouldn’t last. These journalist defied the odds, and the more I said their names and shared their work on social media, these journalists  literally started showing up for me. I started interacting with them online and in person, and one by one they said yes to my idea and convinced their peers to say yes as well. I was grateful and surprised by every yes because I knew they were counting on me, even with my limited experience, to tell their stories and get it right.

From album reviews and critiques, to covering community affairs these writers persuaded and ultimately shaped a new generation of music enthusiasts. As hip-hop became a global phenomenon, they became the chosen ones,  the superheroes of the hip-hop generation!! These writers will be my generations Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka. They wrote about fashion, music, politics, and anything else we as a people created or were affected by. They kicked in the door so someone like me could break through and create for them, what they spent decades helping to create for others – a legacy.

Together we can put the writers is on!

I hope you’ll decide to join me

#teamUS

Syreeta Gates

FEATURED WRITERS

Bobbito Garcia

Bönz Malone

Chris Wilder

Danyel Smith

Datwon Thomas

Davey D Cook

Elliott Wilson

Greg Tate

Joan Morgan

Kierna Mayo

Margeaux Watson

Michael A. Gonzales

Miles Marshall Lewis

Nelson George

Selwyn Seyfu Hinds

Sheena Lester

Steven Hager

Akiba Solomon

Alan Light

Bill Adler

Dan Charnas

Havelock Nelson

Jeff Chang

Tonya Pendleton

John Leland

Julia Beverly

Matty
C

Mimi Valdés

Miss Info

Karen Good

Reggie Dennis

Rob Reef Tewlow

Rob Marriott

FEATURED WRITERS

Bobbito Garcia

Bönz Malone

Chris Wilder

Danyel Smith

Datwon Thomas

Davey D Cook

Elliott Wilson

Greg Tate

Joan Morgan

Kierna Mayo

Margeaux Watson

Michael A. Gonzales

Miles Marshall Lewis

Nelson George

Selwyn Seyfu Hinds

Sheena Lester

Steven Hager

Akiba Solomon

Alan Light

Bill Adler

Dan Charnas

Havelock Nelson

Jeff Chang

Tonya Pendleton

John Leland

Julia Beverly

Matty
C

Mimi Valdés

Miss Info

Karen Good

Reggie Dennis

Rob Reef Tewlow

Rob Marriott

FRequently asked questions

What makes Write On!: The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers different from any other hip-hop documentary?

In hip-hop history there has yet to be a standalone documentary or docu-series about the journalists that have played a major role in hip-hop culture. If it weren’t for these journalists, what we think and know about hip-hop music and its legends would probably not exist. Imagine what entertainment would be like if during the 80s and 90s, when people didn’t think hip-hop was going to last and there was no internet, these people didn’t stop to use their own pens and pads to document history.  Many of the artists we know and love got record deals because of reviews these wordsmiths penned in the pages of magazines. And these storytellers and cultural historians are the reasons classic albums and artists were crowned in the first place. It’s about damn time we pay homage and acknowledge their hard work and role in shaping the culture.

Why is it important to know the journalists’ side of hip-hop history?

Because first and foremost a lot of these journalists were there. They were in the room when greats were discovered, records were cut, deals were signed and history was made.  It’s also important to hear from them because there are always two sides to every story.  For two long the story has been one-sided, told from the view of the artist. But what about the people who were there to document their lives and journey? What did hip-hop history look like from their point of view? Their stories have gone untold for too long, and when you were the go-to for facts decades before Google, your story automatically needs to be told.

What journalists have you already secured for Write On!?

These are some people who have said yes. In addition to others that have said yes that when we raise this money we are going to film. Greg Tate | Sheena Lester | Selwyn Seyfu Hinds | Steven Hager | Datwon Thomas | Margeaux Watson | Davey D | Bobbito Garcia | Bönz Malone | Joan Morgan | Chris Wilder | Reggie Dennis | Nelson George | Michael Gonzales | James Bernard | Alan Light | Kierna Mayo | Rob Marriott | Jeff Chang | Matty C | Tonya Pendleton | Julia Beverly | Reef | Dan Charnas | Akiba Solomon | Mimi Valdes | Karen R. Good | Danyel Smith | Miss Info | Elliott Wilson | Bill Adler | John Leland | Havelock Nelson | Miles Marshall Lewis

How will the money raised be used specifically?
    • Complete the interviews

    • Licensing music

    • Purchasing archival footage

    • Apply for film festivals

Are there any major labels, magazines or other brands backing Write On!: The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers?

Haha who would we be if we told you everything. Don’t believe us? Just watch!

Why is it important that Write On!: The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers happens this year?

Many of the publications that we have and still read are turning milestone years in 2018. The Source Magazine is going to be 30. XXL Magazine is going to turn 20. And there are countless online sites who are earning substantial numbers this year. So it’s time these journalists stories are out in the world.

Why are you crowdfunding this project?

I’m crowdfunding this project because similar to Hip-Hop we all we got. It’s like when Jay-Z went to Def Jam with $100,000 on the table to secure the bag, we’ve done as much as we can do at this point and need to partner with the people to make it happen. People who see the vision and have deemed this particular story important. And who are we to not give the people what they want?!

Will you be using the personal data collected for anything other than this campaign?

Absolutely not! You don’t have to keep one eye open like CBS we don’t want you stressed HA!

Are you looking for creatives to help you on Write On!: The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers?

Absolutely Teamwork Makes the DreamWork every time. You can email us at writeonthedoc@gmail.com HOLLA!

MEET THE TEAM

Syreeta Gates
Creator + Director

Syreeta Gates is a hip-​hop Archivist. As founder of The Gates Preserve (a ​multimedia experience company in which the commitment is to preserve and archive hip hop in such a way that it last forever), she curates innovative experiences like Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers, a documentary about journalist that influenced hip-hop culture #WriteOnTheDoc, as well as Stay Hungry, a unique hip-hop culinary experience that bridges hip hop and food/beverage @YoStayHungry. Gates’ archival work includes research for Nelson George’s feature documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale, and she also added her expertise on other art-oriented films, Finding the Funk and The Triptych.

Holding a B.A. in Urban Youth Culture, the only degree of its kind in the world, Gates is the former Creative Director of Travel Noire, a multi-dimensional platform for unconventional travelers.

Herman Jean-Noel is a visual philosopher, cinematographer, artist, father, husband, cyclist, tech nerd, and a lover of everything tropical hailing from Anse-A-Foleur Haiti. He looks to consistently expand his knowledge and creativity in the world of community building, art, documentary and feature film making, digital video, food, spirituality and technology. Hermans style is a by-product of his multicultural upbringings, mixed with his love of nature and fine attention to details and the ability to capture the mood and emotions of the most mundane or the most remarkable of moments.

Herman Jean-Noel
Director of Photography

Stay in the loop

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Stay in the loop

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.