Syreeta Gates not only loves hip-hop, but loves those who helped mold the foundation of hip-hop journalism. Just seconds into her upbeat and passionate Kickstarter video, you feel her dedication to the art that has help continue to tell spread the genre’s influence.
But Gates, a digital archivist, former creative director for Travel Noire and author, is now looking to highlight the stories of acclaimed hip-hop journalists in her documentary, Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers. Teaming up with visual director Herman Jean-Noel and screenwriter/journalist/author Kathy Iandoli, Gates has collected nearly two decades of history from legendary journalists.
The Kickstarter launched last month notes the voices Gates has connected with. The list is long and noteworthy. They include Kierna Mayo, founder of the Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council (as well as former EIC of Ebony and co-founder of Honey Magazine), Bobbito Garcia, Danyel Smith (first female African-American editor at Billboard and first female EIC of Vibe Magazine), Minya “Miss Info” Oh, Elliott Wilson, Vibe’s current EIC Datwon Thomas and plenty more.
“Mastheads tell you who the people are that are writing and then I started pondering the question, ‘Who tells the story of the journalist when they’re the one telling everyone else the story?’ she tells ThinkPynk. “Not even specifically to hip hop, but if you look at any genre … obviously I’m talking about specifically hip hop, it’s always artists’ faces, right? It’s always about the artists. Specifically in hip hop, if it wasn’t for the journalists, what we think about the artists would be different.”
So far, $22,156 has been raised for the Gates’ $30,000 goal. The funds will help cover costs of securing the final batch of interviews, music rights, film footage, legal/licensing fees, and editing. Gates is also hoping to take the film to festival circuits in 2018-2019.
“You know, people always talking about, ‘For the culture, for the culture’ but how can we, as inheritors of hip hop culture, as participants; hip hop brought us up in a particular capacity,” she added. “How can it be on us, as a people who love the culture, as a people who are from the culture, play a hand in participating? I am committed to these writers’ legacy, for real. If you look at hip hop, unfortunately we haven’t been able to document it in a necessary way. We haven’t been able to do it. So with this doc, my commitment and the team’s commitment is to honor these journalists. This is a love story.”
The Kickstarter wraps Mar. 9 at 11:01 PM EST. Donate before then here.