Connect with us

Entertainment

The saga of Tekashi 6ix9ine: inside the story of a ‘supervillain’ rapper | Film

Published

on

With his rainbow-colored tresses and prominent facial tattoos, it’s hard not to stare at SoundCloud rapper and viral sensation Tekashi 6ix9ine. The 24-year-old, who has collaborated with Nicki Minaj and Kanye West, wouldn’t have it any other way. More so than his actual music, the self-proclaimed social media “supervillain,” former gang member, and convicted felon is known for his shocking online antics and run-ins with the law. For him, no publicity is bad publicity – so does the latest Hulu documentary, 69: The Saga of Danny Hernandez, simply play into the young provocateur’s indiscriminate thirst for the spotlight?

Advertised as both an “investigative documentary” and a “gangster story,” the film traces the rapper’s life from childhood up to his arrest in late 2018 on charges that include attempted murder and armed robbery. A year earlier, he had embroiled himself with the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, a violent subset of the east coast prison gang, to bolster his image and street credibility. Gummo, his 2017 music video featuring cameos from several of the gang’s members, exploded in popularity. Things escalated quickly. He rode the coattails of associated infamy to break the internet before getting in too deep. Fast forward past multiple convictions and an abbreviated prison sentence due to his cooperation with the authorities, and today 6ix9ine has reached an all-time low as one of the most despised figures in hip hop.

“I was trying to find the moment where internet violence turned into real violence,” film-maker Vikram Gandhi tells the Guardian. “It’s one thing to have the symbols and look of violence with guns and gang affiliation. It’s about when the line is crossed into something else – physical violence, people getting punched in the face, groups going around shooting people – that’s when you know it’s not a show any more.”

Fascinated by the new generation of SoundCloud rappers so divorced from his own conception of New York hip-hop, Gandhi discovered 6ix9ine in 2018 and picked up his camera around the time of his arrest months later. Somewhat of a prankster himself, Gandhi knows a thing or two about posturing for attention. In Kumaré, his 2011 documentary, he posed as a spiritual guru and gained a number of followers despite being a fake. In 69, he drops the costume and plunges into the life and times of the notorious figure whose invented persona became too real for his own good.

Before his rise, 6ix9ine was Danny Hernandez, a first generation New Yorker born to immigrant parents from Mexico and Puerto Rico. Raised in poverty by a single mother and traumatized by his father’s absence and his stepfather’s murder, Hernandez led a difficult childhood in the shadows of anonymity before discovering the powers of Instagram and YouTube. “When I realized he grew up in Bushwick, close to where I live,” Gandhi tells the Guardian in a video call. “I realized I knew exactly the neighborhood he was from and the bodega he worked in.”

Drawing from past interviews, social media posts, audio recordings, videos, court documents, and transcripts, Gandhi summons the digital spirit of Tekashi 6ix9ine without ever actually speaking to him. The rapper’s team ignored Gandhi’s interview requests and has recently denounced the documentary. But for the film-maker, 6ix9ine’s cooperation never really mattered. “When I started I didn’t know if he was going to get out of prison. He could have been sentenced for much longer. I was making the film whether he came out or not,” Gandhi explains. “In long-form film-making you will always have a narrative arc that’s beyond some people’s control. I think [6ix9ine] is inclined to do interviews where he can manipulate the narrative. He lives so much of his life online, anyway. That’s where he really exists. What would he tell me that he hasn’t already said?”

undefined



Photograph: Hulu

Indeed, Tekashi is skilled at absorbing bad press and turning it into something positive, knowing that attention is the currency of fame. From his early days designing clothes featuring profanities drawn in big, bold letters, to his button-pushing music videos and high-profile social media beefs, he knows that provocation will rack up the “likes.” In fact, his persona relies on constantly one-upping himself in a never-ending game of dare. In his first music video out of prison, Gooba, he depicts himself as a rat, at once acknowledging his new reputation as a snitch, and shrugging off its importance. The film draws a timeline of his various sentences and controversies, yet no matter the scandal he bounces back, revealing a cold, casual attitude towards his accusers, and those he’s betrayed or harmed.

“None of the information we share is new. But with [the film] we give a human face to a lot of people who in the past have just been depicted as pawns in [6ix9ine’s] story,” Gandhi says. He interviews neighbors and former friends that knew Hernandez before he was throwing gang signs at the camera. But the most poignant of Gandhi’s subjects is Sara Molina, the former girlfriend and mother of Hernandez’s daughter. Molina paints a damning portrait of her ex-beau as a physically abusive partner and indifferent father too addicted to fame to care about anyone but himself. “For everyone in the movie, [6ix9ine] is a triggering person. Almost everybody that I interviewed that was close to him struggled. It was like they were all talking about a good friend that screwed them over.”

A cautionary tale about the destructive powers of fame-seeking in the age of social media, Tekashi’s story might recall that of another American villain skilled in media manipulation. “Dave Chappelle once said after [Donald] Trump was elected that we elected an internet troll as our president. I don’t think that anyone could imagine at the time that the attention that was being given to him might actually make him win.” Gandhi says. “[With Tekashi 6ix9ine], the hip hop world and the internet created a troll and gave him fame and fortune. We’re all complicit in this attention giving economy.”

When asked about the objection some have towards amplifying people who have proven themselves undeserving of the spotlight, Gandhi shrugs: “I don’t have an answer on whether the film is good or bad for society, or good or bad for [6ix9ine’s] career. The only thing I can do is take a subject that is taboo and open it up. I think we have to address things instead of cancel them. Why did this thing happen? If you were someone who was obsessed with the story, or someone who regrets being a fan of his, you can look at the film and say, ‘This is what went down’.”


Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Entertainment

Quo Vadis, Aida? review – shattering return to Srebrenica | Film

Published

on

By

There’s a real tragic power in this almost unbearably brutal and shocking movie from writer-director Jasmila Žbanić about the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 during the Bosnian war, in which more than 8,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslims sheltering in a so-called UN “safe area” were slaughtered: the biggest civilian atrocity in Europe since the second world war. Dutch UN peacekeeping soldiers in powder-blue helmets had been unable to stop Bosnian Serb forces swaggering into their compound – undisciplined, jacked up with the brutal thrill of conquest, paranoid about combatants supposedly hiding among the civilian refugees and simply seething with ethnic hate.

Jasna Đuričić plays Aida, a schoolteacher-turned-translator who is employed by the UN to interpret in discussions between Bosnian Muslim leaders and UN officials, as Srebrenica falls to the Serb forces. Her husband Nihad (Izudin Bajrović) is a headteacher, and they sense that their military-age sons Hamdija (Boris Ler) and Sejo (Dino Bajrović) are now in great danger of reprisals from the victorious Serb army. As they huddle in the disused battery factory under the UN’s supposed protection with thousands of other terrified souls, and thousands more outside, with chaos, squalor and panic growing, Aida scurries around frantically trying to get information. She realises that the pathetic UN commander Karremans (Johan Heldenbergh) can do nothing in the face of the murderous bullies led by the notorious war criminal Ratko Mladić, played with horribly plausible conceit and disdain by Boris Isaković, smoothly and ambiguously announcing his determination not to hurt “innocent” people and handing out Toblerone bars to the trembling children.

As an interpreter, Aida is effectively the drama’s liaison or intermediary between the different constituencies: with her licence to roam, she can take the audience to the Serbs, to the Dutch UN officers and to the civilians. The camera is often running behind Aida as she desperately goes around, demanding that the UN do something or at least protect her family. Đuričić’s face is agonisingly etched with her own horror and disbelief; she seems to age 20 years in the course of the drama.

There is an extraordinary moment when, amid all the fear and boredom and cramped conditions, she sees two young people kissing and she starts laughing – overwhelmed, perhaps, at this evidence that life and humanity goes on, or perhaps at the glorious but vulnerable innocence of youth. Maybe the kissing couple think that everything will be all right, and a flashback gives us Aida’s own youth, taking part in a boozy “beauty contest” in a bar, in the days when Serbs, Muslims and Croats were still friends and neighbours. There are wrenching moments when Aida recognises former pupils of hers now in Serb uniform, pushing her around at gunpoint.

A previous film of Žbanić’s, Esma’s Secret: Grbavica, with a similar Bosnian theme, won the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2006, though I was less convinced. But her latest film seemed to me an icily brilliant and overwhelmingly convincing attempt to tackle, head-on, this shameful atrocity: shameful for the UN, the European Union and all those western world leaders who had been reluctant to intervene – perhaps because the totemic word “Sarajevo” made them fear a new world war. Perhaps also in their hearts they thought military intervention was all very well in the Middle East but not in Europe.

At any rate, the Srebrenica massacre arguably galvanised Nato forces against Mladic. As for the title, it’s taken from the apocryphal Christian tradition that Peter met the risen Christ outside Rome and asked him: “Quo vadis?” – “Whither goest thou?” – and the answer was: to Rome, to be crucified again. Aida herself is crucified twice, once during the massacre and again afterwards, as she begins to recognise certain people in the community she has rejoined. After 25 years, the time has come to look again at the horror of Srebrenica, and Zbanic has done this with clear-eyed compassion and candour.

Quo Vadis, Aida? is available on Curzon Home Cinema from 22 January.


Source link

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Timothée Chalamet And Tom Holland Are Reportedly In The Running To Play Willy Wonka In A "Chocolate Factory" Prequel

Published

on

By

According to reports, the two leading men are being considered to take on the iconic role.


View Entire Post ›


Source link

Continue Reading

Entertainment

The Rental review – predictable cabin-in-the-woods scares | Horror films

Published

on

By

Initial high hopes are dashed at the third-act stage of this disappointing cabin-in-the-woods horror-mystery in which actor Dave Franco (brother of James) makes his directorial debut, co-writing with mumblecore film-maker Joe Swanberg.

Two couples rent an ocean-front beach house for a luxury weekend getaway: tech entrepreneur Charlie (Dan Stevens) and his partner Michelle (Alison Brie), with Charlie’s brother, Josh (Jeremy Allen White), and Josh’s partner, Mina (Sheila Vand), who is also the co-owner of Charlie’s tech startup. When the foursome arrives, they are instantly nettled by the guy showing them around the property: Taylor (Toby Huss) makes casually racist comments about Mina. And it turns out their ultra-fancy rental has some very strange things about it. Are they being spied on?

The dynamic between the four characters is interesting at first, in part because there is already some difficult sexual and social tension between them; it isn’t just the weirdo place they find themselves in. But when the gory/scary stuff really starts happening, the film suddenly loses its dramatic charge. The focus is muddled and uncertain. When tough guy Josh (who we learn has already done jail time for violence) starts taking action against someone who might not actually have done anything wrong, the film starts becoming more of a suspense thriller in which our four hapless heroes have to cover up their own misdeeds. It almost seems as if they themselves are the bad guys, which undermines the potency and the dramatic point of the threat that emerges from the darkness.

It’s pretty basic boilerplate, scary-movie stuff, with tropes and tricks that have already been extensively satirised elsewhere.

• The Rental is available on Amazon Prime Video from 22 January.


Source link

Continue Reading

Breaking News

Shares