New Documentary Write On! To Explore Writers Who Shaped Hip-Hop Culture

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Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers tells the stories of hip-hop’s overlooked commentators — the brilliant narrators that gave voice to, shaped and set the bar for what is now popular culture. The upcoming documentary includes interviews with over 30+ hip-hop journalists, revealing little known and untold behind the scenes stories of Hip-Hop's finest by the gatekeepers of hip-hop stardom, royalty and history.

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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 writers will be my generations Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka!

The Gates Preserve announces Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers crowdfunding campaign, to complete and release the first documentary about the journalists that shaped and influenced hip-hop culture as we know it. The forthcoming documentary will journey from the beginning of hip-hop journalism to those writers that recognize themselves as hip-hop journalists now and the role the internet plays in documenting the culture. Write On! takes interviews with these and other key hip-hop juggernauts incorporating flashback film footage, archival photos, animation, and motion graphics to bring you on a journey into the minds and hearts of hip-hop’s own music writers.

Featured journalists include Greg Tate, Datwon Thomas, dream hampton, Nelson George, Bobbito Garcia, Akiba Solomon, Joan Morgan, Mimi Valdes, Danyel Smith, Minya “Miss Info” Oh, Elliott Wilson, Miles Marshall Lewis, Sheena Lester, Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, Steven Hager, Margeaux Watson, Davey D, Bönz Malone, Chris Wilder, Reggie Dennis, Michael Gonzales, James Bernard, Rob Marriott, Jeff Chang, Matteo “Matty C” Capoluongo, Julia Beverly, Rob “Reef” Tewlow, Dan Charnas, Bill Adler, John Leland, Havelock Nelson and more.

From profiles of Bönz Malone reflecting on his Notorious B.I.G King of New York cover story to Alan Light’s breaking features on hip-hop trailblazers Queen Latifah and NWA in Rolling Stone back in ‘91, Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers uncovers the story behind the story on Hip-Hop’s finest. This documentary picks up on the cultural significance of how the inked pages of Black Beat, Right On!, Word Up!, VIBE Magazine and others reveal little known and untold behind the scenes stories of Hip-Hop history in the making. Whether it was Kierna Mayo’s ‘94 spotlight on hip-hop mega group A Tribe Called Quest in The SOURCE Magazine or Tonya Pendleton’s Rap Pages story on Diddy the mogul, it was the artists and the writers narratives that gave voice to the culture.

The idea behind the upcoming documentary that sets out to tell the stories of the hip-hop storytellers was conceived by Hip-Hop Archivist, Syreeta Gates, of The Gates Preserve. Gates, as director on the film project, issues Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers as a digital thank you letter to the original cultural historians and ghostwriters of hip-hop culture. Tapped as director of photography is visual artist/cinematographer Herman Jean-Noel and screenwriter Kathy Iandoli, co-author of “Commissary Kitchen” with the late Albert “Prodigy” Johnson of Mobb Deep.

“These journalists had connections to musical history that my generation would never understand, but would want to. 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. 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,” says Syreeta Gates, director, Write On!

Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers (projected to release in Winter 2018) will open up the conversation of what is known about the origins of hip-hop’s hottest tracks, classic albums and its legends during the 80s and 90s -- pre-internet era. With the understanding that many of hip-hop’s brightest stars earned fans and record deals from the reviews and features by these wordsmiths, the documentary spotlights the journalists that had a front row seat to the moments when hip-hop greats were discovered, records were cut, deals were signed and history was made. From album reviews and critiques, to covering community affairs these writers persuaded and ultimately shaped a new generation of music enthusiasts. Ultimately, these journalists set the scene and provided the narrative to a genre that most didn’t think would last; hip-hop’s ink slingers were the gatekeepers of hip-hop stardom, royalty and history.

The Gates Preserve recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to complete and release the documentary in 2018 in tandem with milestone anniversaries of renowned hip-hop publications including The Source Magazine, celebrating 30 years, VIBE Magazine, celebrating 25 years and XXL Magazine celebrating 20 years. Funds donated will support completing interviews, music licensing fees, purchasing archival footage and to enter the documentary in to film festivals. As of February 27th, the fundraising campaign has raised over $14,000 towards its $30,000 goal and is set to close on March 9th. To support Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers, visit bit.ly/WriteOnTheDoc. The campaign boasts a series of exclusive rewards to supporters, including exclusive film updates, behind the scenes footage, digital download of the film, VIP film screening access and more.    

To learn more about Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers, visit writeonthedoc.com. Connect with Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers on Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram @WriteOnTheDoc. Follow the online conversation with the hashtag #WriteOnTheDoc. Downloadable behind the scenes images, bios, videos and other press assets are available at bit.ly/WriteOnPR.

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ABOUT SYREETA GATES // THE GATES PRESERVE
Syreeta Gates is a Hip Hop Archivist. As founder of The Gates Preserve (a hub 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 featuring the never before told story about the writers and journalists that created and shaped the language for hip-hop culture, as well as Stay Hungry, a unique hip-hop culinary experience that bridges hip hop and food/beverage. 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.

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