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Eazy E & Venice Locals (A Historic Day in the Brotherhood of Hip Hop and Skateboarding)

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Eazy E & Venice Locals (A Historic Day in the Brotherhood of Hip Hop and Skateboarding)
File:Eazy E & Venice Locals (A Historic Day in the Brotherhood of Hip Hop and Skateboarding) short documentary poster.jpg
Film festival poster
Directed byIthaka Darin Pappas
Produced by
  • Craig Raidor Dahl [1]
Sweatlodge Films [2]
Release date
May 7th 2019
Running time
9:27 minutes [3]
CountryUnited States/Brazil [4]
LanguageEnglish titles (no dialogue)

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Eazy E & Venice Locals (A Historic Day in the Brotherhood of Hip Hop and Skateboarding) is an experimental short subject, non-dialogue documentary film based entirely on an archive of still photographs created by Ithaka Darin Pappas on February 23, 1989 at Venice Beach, California. The project, using the mentioned 35 mm format black and white film images and editing software, depicts American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur, Eazy-E publicly associating with local skateboarders and also skateboarding himself.[5] The image archives used in the film were captured immediately following the filming of the first televised interview of Eazy-E's pioneering Gangsta rap group N.W.A. for an episode of Yo! MTV Raps to be shown on MTV. As the program had recently began being broadcast globally, NWA's appearance was significant as it was at the beginning of the internationalization of gangsta rap. And by some accounts, it was also the first public association of a major hip hop artist with Skateboarding culture.[6][5][7][8][9][10]

Eazy E and Skateboarding[edit]

It was during the height of Eazy-E's fame, Fab 5 Freddy had been interviewing N.W.A on the Venice Beach boardwalk. According to an observer, Eazy-E wore a bullet proof vest that day, apparently for legitimate reasons. After the group interview, Eazy-E walked over and began conversing with a group of local skateboarders. Many photographs were made of the two Countercultures, hip hop and skateboarding, merging for perhaps the first time. Eazy-E then borrowed one of the local's boards and began skateboarding himself. He rode with his right foot forward, a stance that is commonly referred to as Goofyfoot.[11][12][13][14]

In an era when skateboarding and hip hop music had little or no common bond, Eazy-E, a major hip hop celebrity with street credibility, openly involving himself with skateboarding, helped reintroduce it as a potential inner-city activity. Before this time, skateboarding and hip hop were not communities that had many cross-over participantes, as skateboarding was predominantly linked sonically to Punk rock. It was a little known fact to Eazy-E's fans while he was alive, but Eazy-E had been a skateboarder since 1988, or even before.[11]

The image archives of Eazy E skateboarding with Venice Beach locals (including; David Katz, skater/photographer Josh "Bagel" Klassman, Aaron Murray, Ricky Reynaga, Barnall Weathersby and skater/photographer Pep Williams)[15] first surfaced in an article in the skateboarding magazine, Thrasher in the summer of 1989. The pictures were later used again by Thrasher in subscription advertisements and in the manufacturing of apparel with the Eazy E and local skaters image and the magazine's logo, to promote their brand.[16] In 2011-2012 one of the images featuring Eazy-E with Venice Beach skateboarding locals from the archive was used in a two-year traveling exhibition curated by Jake Phelps entitled Love + Guts: 30 Years Of Thrasher. The exhibit traveled nationally in the United States from San Francisco to Costa Mesa, Washington DC, and New York. A variation of the U.S. exhibit was also presented in London, Paris, Mexico City and Hong Kong. Portions of the tour were co-sponsored by; Vans, Nike, Inc., Oakley, Inc. and Monster Energy.[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

The archival pictures used of Eazy E skateboarding from Eazy E & Venice Locals appeared as part of the primary backdrop for the NWA segment of the 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Brooklyn, New York and in the event's official program book.[25] Some of the same images were also featured in the 2017 HBO documentary, The Defiant Ones, about N.W.A. member Dr. Dre and record executive Jimmy Iovine directed by the Allen Hughes.[26] Also in 2016, Beats by Dre used an image from the film to celebrate Go Skateboarding Day by licensing a single picture of Eazy-E skateboarding for use on both their official Twitter and Instagram accounts.[25][26][27]

In 2017, some of the pictures from the short documentary appeared in the New York urban culture magazine Mass Appeal, (owned by rap star Nas) and later were presented in association with the Photoville photography fair in Dumbo, Brooklyn - New York.[28][29] In early 2018, the Eazy E skateboarding pictures traveled to Musée d'Art Contemporain in Marseille, France as part of the exhibit "Hip-Hop : Un Age d'Or" organized by French rapper, producer, curator Siba Giba.[30][31]

Later the same year, the photographs also appeared in the Penguin Random House hardbound book entitled Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop written by Vikki Tobak (with a foreword by Questlove and accompanying essays by Bill Adler, Rhea L. Combs, Fab Five Freddy, Michael Gonzales, Young Guru, DJ Premier, and RZA). In the spring of 2019, the book was transformed into an exhibit (also named Contact High: A Visual History Of Hip Hop) which was hosted by the museum, The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. The exhibit showed one of the Eazy-E with Venice Locals entire Contact prints, solidifying the legitimacy of the images, that some critics ad previously deemed as a hoax.[32][33][34][35][36][37]

Media reaction[edit]

The online magazine, Skate Newswire, described the film's images as, "The stuff that legends are made of." [38] While the website ENT referred to the photos being, "Amazing on multiple levels: a photo of the late Eazy-E skating in Venice Beach, shot in 1989, when Venice’s locals included skaters like Christian Hosoi, Eric Dressen,[39] and Jesse Martinez"..[40] LA Weekly has stated, "Known for turning rap into an international phenomenon, Eazy-E was ahead of the curve on skateboarding, too."[41] While the site, Feel Numb, described the images as, "Eazy-E in the midst of N.W.A. fame, not being very Gangsta".[42][43][44]

Hip hop founding father and former host of Yo! MTV Raps, Fab 5 Freddy, recalled the story and the film's archival photographs during a 2019 interview given to DJ Vlad of Vlad TV, "When I did that first show with NWA and we ended up at Venice Beach, Eazy-E sees these kids skateboarding. And Easy goes and jumps on a skateboard. And he’s holding his own skating around in Venice Beach...you just wouldn’t think of the quintessential architect of a lot of the gangster rap energy being able to get on a skateboard and do his thing at that point in time. This was like ’89." [45]


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  3. "Eazy E & Venice Locals (A Historic Day in the Brotherhood of Hip Hop and Skateboarding) (2019) - IMDb" – via www.imdb.com.
  4. Magazine, Akahti (27 May 2019). "Novo Documentário Revela Que o Eazy E Foi o Primeiro skatista do Hip Hop".
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Eazy E & Venice Locals (A Historic Day in the Brotherhood of Hip Hop and Skateboarding)" – via www.imdb.com.
  6. "Yo! MTV Un-wrapped". 4 August 2017.
  7. "La storia del rap in libreria". Issuu.
  8. SmithFebruary 27, Elliott; 2019 (27 February 2019). "How Yo! MTV Raps Set the Stage for Hip-Hop's World Dominance - TV Guide". TVGuide.com.
  9. Cooper, Mark (7 August 2013). "NWA: 'Our raps are documentary. We don't take sides'" – via www.theguardian.com.
  10. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10298352/?ref_=_1
  11. 11.0 11.1 "BLAZEDMADE INTERVIEW: ITHAKA DARIN PAPPAS (PART 2/2)". Blazedmade.
  12. DailyRapPics (24 February 2019). "Eazy-E skateboarding with a bulletproof vest. Venice Beach, Los Angeles - 1989.pic.twitter.com/WOqn17r6Hw".
  13. "Eazy-E: Never-before-seen photo shows Eazy-E skating in Venice Beach wearin..." Scoopnest.
  14. Cave, Steve. "What is the Goofy Foot or Goofy Stance in Skateboarding?". LiveAbout.
  15. http://ithakaofficial.com/tag/pep-williams/
  16. "Thrasher's Use of Eazy-E Photo Allegedly Infringes Copyright". Bloomberg Law.
  17. "Love & Guts NYC". www.thrashermagazine.com.
  18. "Eazy E & NWA photos by: Ithaka (@nwa_photos_by_ithaka) - Instagram photos, videos, highlights and stories". www.picluck.net.
  19. "30 Years of Thrasher in Paris" – via www.thrashermagazine.com.
  20. Unknown, Publicado por. "thrasher méxico 30 años expo".
  21. "Love and Guts NYC 2011". www.thrashermagazine.com.
  22. "2011 Love and Guts Skate Art Show". HYPEBEAST.
  23. Bedenbaugh, Ricki (8 June 2011). "LOVE & GUTS-NEW YORK 2011" – via Vimeo.
  24. Ausb, Ozzie (12 November 2011). "Love & Guts / Thrasher XXX".
  25. 25.0 25.1 "NWA finally admitted to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame". 9 April 2016.
  26. 26.0 26.1 "DMG Clearances, Inc - About Us -". www.dmgclearances.com.
  27. Dre, Beats by (21 June 2016). "To all the homies out there grinding. Never quit. Keep pushing. #goskateboardingday : Eazy-E by Ithaka Darin Pappaspic.twitter.com/xtp83Fvn2J".
  28. "Ithaka Darin Pappas On Photographing a Bulletproof Vest-Wearing, Skateboarding-Riding Eazy-E". www.thecoli.com. 2017-01-05.
  29. majda (8 August 2017). "Contact High: Hip-Hop's Iconic Photographs and Visual Culture".
  30. Twitter, Presse et contacts Télécharger le programme Newsletter Retrouvez-nous sur Facebook. "HIP HOP : UN ÂGE D'OR - Marseille expos".
  31. "Hip hop : un âge d'or - 1970-1995 (Hip hop: a golden age - 1970-1995), exhibition - Events and festivals in Marseille". Guide Accorhotels.
  32. Tobak, Vikki (28 May 2019). "Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop". Crown Publishing Group – via Google Books.
  33. "- Janette Beckman - The stories behind hip-hop's most iconic images By Eliott C. McLaughlin (CNN) - Press - Fahey Klein Gallery". www.faheykleingallery.com.
  34. "The stories behind hip-hop's most iconic images". www.cnn.com.
  35. Miranda, Carolina A. "Datebook: Roy Dowell's hypnotic plays on pattern". latimes.com.
  36. Magazine, Akahti (27 May 2019). "American Entrepreneurs: "Eazy E & Venice Locals" non-dialogue documentary at MIMPI - Festival de Surf, Skate e Cinema! in Rio de Janeiro".
  37. "Contact High by Vikki Tobak - PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books". PenguinRandomhouse.com.
  38. "Fab 5 Freddy Tells His Eazy E Skateboarding Story on VladTV ⋆ SKATE NEWSWIRE". 20 May 2019.
  39. "Eric Dressen Profile < Skately Library". skately.com.
  40. "Skateboarding's Most Notorious Enforcer: Jesse Martinez interview by Chris Nieratko". 30 August 2016.
  41. Hermann, Andy (25 February 2016). "Eazy-E Was Ahead of the Curve on Skateboarding, Too". L.A. Weekly.
  42. raul (7 February 2016). "Skateboard E – N.W.A. Gangsta Eazy-E Skating Venice Beach 1989".
  43. "Meet the Greek-American Artist Who Shot N.W.A's Earliest Promo Photos".
  44. "As históricas fotos dos N.W.A., o homem que as tirou, e a sua ligação a Portugal". 16 March 2016.
  45. djvlad (20 May 2019). "Fab 5 Freddy on Giving 2Pac His First Interview, Tells 2Pac & Madonna Story (Part 5)" – via YouTube.

External links[edit]

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