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Filmmaker to explore the ‘game used to divide people’

American filmmaker E Raymond Brown spent years of his life listening to hip hop music and TV shows filled with words like ‘pimp’ and ‘ho’.

Then one day he decided to take a deeper look at the terminology and the interesting power struggle that existed between these two archetypes.

According to Mr Brown, who with William Arntz created the documentary ‘GhettoPhysics’, in every situation there is a ‘pimp’, who sells their vision of business, and a ‘ho’, who does all the work. The unconscious dynamic can be found everywhere from the streets to the classroom and the corporate boardroom. It plays out in politics, business and even race relations.

The language can also be seen through shows like MTV’s ‘Pimp my Ride’ and songs like ‘Big Pimpin’ by popular rapper Jay-Z, said the 49-year-old.

Mr Brown, a veteran music producer, will be on Island tomorrow afternoon to introduce the film to students at the Bermuda College and later to the public at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute at 7pm.

There will also be a free screening at The Chewstick Foundation on Court Street in Hamilton on Saturday from 4pm until 7pm. Brought here by campaigning group Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB), he will be opening up a dialogue about the power struggles that exist locally and around the world.

CURB president Cordell Riley said he learnt about the film during a conference on white privilege in Minneapolis last April.

Scores of filmmakers were there, but Mr Brown was one of the few who had a completed project. Mr Riley said: “He only showed about 30 minutes of the documentary and then opened it up to discussion.

“It was definitely provoking how power plays out in the community and the world and how that impacts individuals.

“Race was just a small aspect of that. Racism is a form of power keeping one group in their place, so to speak.”

Mr Riley said he hopes the free screenings can help people realise they “have power within themselves to make change”.

“That is the message you get in terms of how does power play out. Are you buying into it? What are some of the manifestations of power we buy into from a powerless point of view? “The message is we have to opt out of it if we decide [we want to change].”

Mr Brown, from Los Angeles, worked as a music producer for almost 25 years before penning his first book ‘Will the Real Pimps and Hos Please Stand Up’. He used that research as a basis for ‘GhettoPhysics’ and went on to get input from activists such as Princeton University professor Cornel West, rappers KRS-One and Ice T.

He also gained more than $1 million in financial backing from Mr Arntz, whose own small documentary ‘What the BLEEP Do We Know?’ grossed $11 million at the US box office.

According to Mr Brown, race and other social divisions have created a problematic situation in the world today.

“In my opinion there is one race, the human race. All this dividing us up into sectors or categories other than for history and background is pointless. All it is, is a game used to divide people.”

He said it was important to facilitate a paradigm shift to dissolve the power structures that have been defined for us.

While this is his first visit to Bermuda, he admits he is excited to see how locals respond to the nature of the ideas in the film. “I hope that the people get stimulated in terms of the possibilities of their creative knowledge and their ability to creatively think,” he said.

Through gaining a deeper understanding “a shift in a positive direction is possible”, he said, “but we are going to need to upgrade our tool kit”.

Mr Brown encourages people to see the film and get involved in the discussions.

“I believe people will have a good time because there is humour, there is a story, there is a narrative that is woven through it that has some dramatic art to it. So they are going to have a great time as they watch this engaging movie. It deals with some raw and stimulating stuff, but in a very positive way so they can look at making their world better.”

www.ghettophysics.com.

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Published September 22, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 22, 2011 at 9:27 am)

Filmmaker to explore the ‘game used to divide people’

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