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Watch the Trailer for 'BABYLON'—the South London Film Finally Making Its U.S. Debut After 39 Years

The film made its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but was "too controversial, likely to incite racial tension" for big screens in the States—until this week.

Just from watching the trailer alone, Babylon is a film that feels like it's come out of a time capsule.

Here's the synopsis:

Raw and smoldering, it follows a young dancehall DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British reggae group Aswad) in South London as he pursues his musical ambitions, battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front.

After the film made its mark at Cannes and Toronto in 1980—it oddly just went straight to VHS. Helmed by Italian-British director Franco Rosso, the New York Film Festival blocked the film from a U.S. theatrical run due to being "too controversial" and for the likelihood of it "inciting racial tension."


"You can think of Babylon as Juice (1992) transposed from George H.W. Bush's America to Thatcher-era Britain, from Harlem to Brixton. Instead of Tupac Shakur you have Brinsley Forde, instead of rap battles you have sound clashes.," Screen Slate explains.

Babylon is currently having its premiere run at Brooklyn's BAMcinematek, which wraps Thursday, March 21. The film then heads to California, screening at LAEMMLE Monica and LAEMMLE Glendale from Friday, March 15.

Check out the trailer and stills from the film below.

BABYLON • Official Trailer HD • Kino Lorber Repertory & Seventy-Seven youtu.be

Photo still courtesy of Kino Lorber Repertory.

Photo still courtesy of Kino Lorber Repertory.

Photo still courtesy of Kino Lorber Repertory.

How Technology Is Playing a Crucial Role in the #EndSARS Protests

Young people in Nigeria have successfully managed to use technological innovations to organize and make the #EndSARS protests run incredibly efficiently and easily. This moment will go down in history as a revolution that was birthed via technology.

It has been more than a week since young people in Nigeria took to the streets to demand that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, infamously known as SARS, be scrapped for good. Created in 1992, this police unit was originally set up to beat back armed robbery, the use of firearms and rising cases of kidnappings that grew in the late eighties. However, the unit went rogue, becoming more notorious for its savagery than actual crime-fighting. With a rap sheet ranging from profiling, harassment and assault to, in more extreme cases, slaughtering innocent citizens, these quasi-officers have unleashed terror on the nation for more than two decades.

Their victims are predominantly young Nigerians profiled on appearance—whether they drive exotic vehicles, use the latest gadgets, have their hair dyed or locked, or have piercings. In some cases, working in tech often gets conflated with financial fraud. For people who don't meet the absurd criteria, the mood of the officer can often become the difference between life and death.

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Emile YX? Wants to 'Reconnect The String'

The father of South African hip-hop's latest book release is here to teach you about the culture.

As a father-figure in South African hip-hop, there's a lot Emile Lester Jansen, aka Emile YX?, knows. He'll also tell you, there's a lot he doesn't. But the knowledge Emile has gained, over his 3 decades in music, he's always tried to share with others. His latest project is no different. The Black Noise founder is working on a book that identifies the similarities between Bushmen expression and hip-hop, and how this knowledge can help empower anyone who has a love of the culture.

The book, which will be called Reconnect The String, comes on the back of this year's 21st anniversary of the African Hip Hop Indaba, one of the landmark hip hop events in Cape Town created by Emile, which has helped many an artist launch their career. As a teacher and a musician, he's long been involved in using hip hop to uplift communities—first through the seminal group Black Noise, founded in the late 1980s, with its rhymes rallying against Apartheid, and then through the Heal the Hood organization, a non-profit that grew out of the group's efforts to use its love of hip hop to fuel youth development initiatives in townships on the Cape Flats.

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Interview
Photo: Nick Beeba

Interview: Sango's ‘Da Rocinha 4’ Is a Polished & Grinding Take On Baile Funk

We speak with the Seattle-based DJ and producer about his new album and the music bridges connecting Brazil, the US and the world.

It's a common joke in Brazil: once three or more Brazilian people gather together, they will start a WhatsApp group. The producer and DJ Kai Wright, who goes by the alias Sango, is well aware of that. While he is giving this interview through a Zoom call, a sound notification pops from his computer. "Do you hear that?" he says, amidst laughs. "It's WhatsApp, this album was made through WhatsApp groups."

Once and for all, Sango is not Brazilian. "I am an ambassador for that sound, but I am a Black American," he says. "That sound" is baile funk, the most prominent Brazilian electronic and popular music of the past decades. Born in Michigan and based in Seattle, Sango became a beacon for a new strain of baile funk around 2012, when he released the album Da Rocinha—a suite that he revisits in his new release, Da Rocinha 4.

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In Conversation with Candice Chirwa: 'Menstruation is More than Just Bleeding for Seven Days.'

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