Simon Bland in Film & TV


Creative England Support New Documentary Starring Public Enemy's Chuck D

Creative England provide support for a new documentary chronicling the seminal 1973 album Hustlers Convention and starring Public Enemy's Chuck D.

The film will mark the latest offering from Mike Todd, director of boxing documentary Joe Frazier: When the Smoke Clears. It is a co-production between Chuck D’s company BTN Eastlink, Todd’s company Riverhorse and Warehouse 51, owned by former Sky Vision CEO Carl Hall, who will also Exec.

Hustlers Convention, while little known by many, is regarded as a cornerstone in the evolution of Hip Hop. It’s creator, Lightnin’ Rod, aka Jalal Nuriddin of The Last Poets, is affectionately known in some circles as ‘The Grandfather of Rap’ for his contribution to the genre. 

The album is an epic rhymed story of a fast-talking hustler by the name of Sport. The music is provided by Kool & the Gang and Buddy Miles among many others. It is a street tale of card sharks, gamblers, dope peddlars and thieves that changed the face of music. 

(Left to right) Jalal Nuriddin with fellow Last Poets Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan ©Michael Ochs Archives

The project will tell of the life and times of of Jalal and document how, when his street rhyming style, based on the African American jail toast tradition, met the black power politics of the post-Malcolm X era, the art of rap as we know it today was born. 

The film includes interviews with some of the key figures connected to the story, including the late Amiri Baraka, Ice T, Melle Mel, KRS One, MC Lyte, Chuck himself – and many more.  

"Creative England is really proud to back Mike and the team on this outstanding documentary through our Production Funds," said Richard Holmes, Senior Film Executive at Creative England. "We're delighted to be supporting such an internationally important story from a Manchester-based talent. Mike is an object lesson in creativity, tenacity and drive - and with this film we believe he'll gain even greater traction in the field of ground-breaking, powerfully-told feature docs."

Director Mike Todd said, “The story of Jalal and Hustlers Convention is missing piece of cultural history. It’s fantastic that so many people have supported this project and made it possible for us to get this film out there.” 

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