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A documentary about the journalists that shaped hip-hop, revealing stories penned by your favorite emcees’ favorite writers.
A documentary about the journalists that shaped hip-hop, revealing stories penned by your favorite emcees’ favorite writers.
341 backers pledged $33,817 to help bring this project to life.

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We did it baby! #TeamUs

Thank you all for the support. It literally couldn’t have been done without you.

Now... we need more than $30K to make this documentary happen.  March 9th is the last day to pledge - the anniversary of Biggie Small's death.

"The key to staying on top of things / Is treat everything like it's your first project, nomsayin'? / Like it's your first day, like, back when you was an intern / Like, that's how you try to treat things like, just stay hungry" -Notorious B.I.G. (My 1st Song, JAY-Z)

In honor of Big we have a new Stretch Goal - $40K!!!

With the extra $10K we can interview the artists. Imagine the artists talking about the writers! We have some dope artists lined up...

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What is this project? 

Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers is a documentary about journalists that influenced the hip-hop culture.

If you’re like our team, we know you’d prefer to watch the video and learn all you need to know. But if you need more details in writing…

What you debate—and perhaps believe—about the birth of the hip-hop industry can be traced back to the insights and lenses of people whose names you may or may not know. Any of these ring a bell? Greg Tate | Sheena Lester | Selwyn Seyfu Hinds | Steven Hager | Datwon Thomas | Margeaux Watson | Davey D | Bobbito Garcia | Bönz Malone | Joan Morgan | Chris Wilder | Reggie Dennis | Nelson George | Michael Gonzales | James Bernard | Alan Light | Kierna Mayo | Rob Marriott | Jeff Chang | Matteo "Matty C" Capoluongo | Tonya Pendleton | Julia Beverly | Rob "Reef" Tewlow | Dan Charnas | Akiba Solomon | Mimi Valdes | Karen R. Good | Danyel Smith |  Minya "Miss Info" Oh | Elliott Wilson | Bill Adler | John Leland | Havelock Nelson | Miles Marshall Lewis

Writers Danyel Smith + Syreeta Gates + Elliott Wilson
Writers Danyel Smith + Syreeta Gates + Elliott Wilson

Well, well, well... We have something that no one else does: 

The stories of your favorite emcees’ favorite writers.

Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop's Ink Slingers is a documentary about the writers that have shaped hip-hop as we know it. The documentary tells the stories of overlooked commentators—brilliant narrators that set the bar for what is now popular culture.

Write On! takes interviews with these and other key hip-hop juggernauts, film footage, photos, animation, and motion graphics to bring you on a journey into the minds and hearts of hip-hop’s own music writers.

Writer Minya "Miss Info" Oh + Nas 5 Mics for Illmatic in The Source Magazine
Writer Minya "Miss Info" Oh + Nas 5 Mics for Illmatic in The Source Magazine

What are the rewards? 

For those of you who decide to join us (and help tell these stories), we've got good news: you'll get a lot more than the satisfaction of helping preserve hip-hop history. Whether you just want to ride along, or want a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we've got you covered with exclusive rewards, including a digital archive pass, digital download of the film, autographed magazines, VIP entry to screenings and the wrap party, Digital Producer credits, an invitation to join us on the red carpet, and more!

REWARD: The Source Magazine Logo made out of LEGO Bricks
REWARD: The Source Magazine Logo made out of LEGO Bricks

The funds we raise will go directly toward the costs to complete the final 20 interviews, and post-production—including archival costs, legal/licensing fees, and editing.

Our funding goal is considerably less than the total cost for this project. If we exceed our goal, these additional resources will go toward the budget to add motion graphics and to pay the costs to submit to film festivals between 2018-2019.

Why focus on another piece about hip-hop right now? 

Hip-Hop culture has become popular culture. The cultural elements and associated moguls are still dictating what is relevant across industries and sectors: including technology, sports, politics, and—more specifically—film and television. 

The successes of films released in the last three years: Fresh Dressed (2015), Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives (2015), Straight Outta Compton (2015), Hip Hop Evolution (2016), The Art of Organized Noize (2016) and HBO’s Academy Award winning series The Defiant Ones (2017), reveal the charismatic characters and naturally dramatic stories that ARE hip-hop. The mix of authenticity and Hollywood have created fans globally for The Get Down (Netflix), Atlanta (FX), The Chi (Showtime), Power (Starz), Empire (Fox), and Black-ish (ABC). Let’s not even speculate what is about to happen with the film Black Panther (2018)! 

It’s time to tell the story of those who told the stories, and to bring our unique brand of documenting to the next level.

XXL's A Great Day In Harlem '98 w. Cover Story Writer Miles Marshall Lewis
XXL's A Great Day In Harlem '98 w. Cover Story Writer Miles Marshall Lewis

Syreeta Gates has been working on this project for over six years—as you can see from this Shoppe Black article, this Soulhead article from Michael A Gonzalez, and this Stretch & Bobbito mention. Many of the writers featured have moved on from hip-hop print magazines. Yet, they created a whole new space to participate in hip-hop, giving people outside of the culture insight into the richness, viability, and power therein. They paved the way for hip-hop in academia and beyond! It is time to honor them, by paying homage and gratitude.

Our Team 

Go celebrate with your team and let victory vouch you - Kendrick Lamar, "The Heart Part 4"

Syreeta Gates, Director + Visionary 

I am a Culture Creator and hip-hop archivist. Need receipts? Served as EIC of online hip-hop publication Carter Magazine; helped to grow a 2 million+ Black millennial travel community as Creative Director (@travelnoire); produced a show on WBAI Pacifica Radio to bridge history and hip-hop; served as an archival researcher for documentaries A Ballerina's Tale and Finding the Funk; served as Associate Curator for an exhibit at the nationally renowned photo festival Photoville - “Contact High;” currently produce a culinary arts competition and podcast that bridges hip-hop lyrics, food and beverage (STAY HUNGRY and Everybody Eats), and founded The Gates Preserve—a multimedia creative collective that works to archive and preserve the contributions of those who consider hip-hop their culture. Oh, and I have a BA in Urban Youth Culture—the one and only degree of its kind in the world.

Kathy Iandoli, Screenwriter

I am a critically acclaimed journalist and author. My work has appeared in publications including Pitchfork, VICE, XXL, The Source, VIBE, Maxim, O, Cosmopolitan, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Playboy, The Guardian, and many others. I co-authored the book Commissary Kitchen with the late Albert "Prodigy" Johnson of Mobb Deep, and I am also a professor of Music Business at select universities throughout New York and New Jersey.

 Herman Jean-Noel, Director of Photography

I go by: visual philosopher, cinematographer, artist, father, husband, cyclist, tech nerd, and a lover of everything tropical—hailing from Anse-A-Foleur, Haiti. I look to consistently expand my knowledge and creativity in the world of community building, art, documentary and feature filmmaking, digital video, food, spirituality and technology. My style is a by-product of my multicultural upbringing, mixed with a love of nature and fine attention to details and the ability to capture the mood and emotions of the most mundane or the most remarkable of moments. 

The Squadddddddddd  

These people have been putting in work and supporting behind the scenes. #teamUS is a verb!

Kat Delva, Alphonso Jordan, Ashley Mui, Natalie Marrero, Sallome., Erica Boisaubin, Melissa Kimble, Alvin Dollow, Malik Mack, Quan Lateef-Hill, JP Reynolds, Omoyele Mcintosh,  Veracity Savant, Miguel Ortiz, Danielle Pointdujour, Mike Tonge, Pavel Konoplenko, Shantrelle P. Lewis, Yaba Blay, Cenne Anderson, Ronnie Brown, Erica Kane, Kamilah White, Rico Caine, Paula Ramirez, Kleaver Cruz, Ish Islam, Nadia Lopez, Alex Colby, Rel Francis, Ali Muhammad, Esther Armah, Randall Wilson, Lorenzo Escalante, and Brian Chu

Writer Nelson George + Syreeta Gates
Writer Nelson George + Syreeta Gates

My People Put Their People On

There are a variety of ways you can support this film.

PLEDGE. CONNECT. SHARE. TELL YOUR STORY. PLEDGE!

CONNECT. 

  • Like us on Facebook 
  • Check out the Website 
  • Check out #WriteOnTheDoc // @WriteOnTheDoc on Twitter & Instagram

SHARE.

We appreciate you contributing to the campaign! Now go on, and PLEASE TELL EVERYONE THAT YOU DID! We are firm believers that #TEAMWORKMAKESTHEDREAMWORK therefore we need you to SHARE IT!

Whether you're on Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Facebook PLEASE SHARE ABOUT THIS FILM!

Are you a blogger? BLOG ABOUT IT! Please reach out and share this story with your readers and encourage them to support the campaign! Want an interview? Please send an email to: writeonthedoc@gmail.com and let's make it happen! 

Got friends in media? MAKE SURE YOU TELL THEM ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN! 

TELL YOUR STORY. 

Were you influenced to pick up the pen by one of these writers? Did you hang up that Nas 5-Mic review from The Source on your bedroom wall? Was Honey Magazine your holy grail? Do you still constantly check Twitter for Elliott Wilson’s RT’s? We want to hear from you! Please send your story, name, hometown, and Twitter/IG handles to: writeonthedoc@gmail.com.

Writers Rob "Reef" Tewlow + Syreeta Gates + Matteo "Matty C" Capoluongo
Writers Rob "Reef" Tewlow + Syreeta Gates + Matteo "Matty C" Capoluongo

 

Risks and challenges

The biggest risks and challenges we face aren't from this Kickstarter, but attaining the archival footage. Getting clearance to use photos, magazine covers and music will change the game for Write On!. And because we are committed to getting it right, we must go hard or go home! BUT we are firm believers that "Your word was everything, so everything you said you'd do // You did it" So...LET'S DO IT!

This history needs to be shared. We hope that you all have the opportunity to see our film very soon :)

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    MAD LOVE

    Even if you don't have much to pledge, we want to share this adventure with as many of you as possible, so we're making it easy.

    Make even a small pledge, and you'll get EXCLUSIVE BACKER UPDATES throughout the completion of the production process. Imagine we get that call from that distributor on Day 30? You’ll be the first to know! As motion graphics get completed, you’ll get an update. It'll be like you're right there with us.

    Includes:
    • Exclusive backer updates
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    WHO YOU WIT’

    While the exclusive backer updates will be dope, let's be honest: you're going to want to be along for the whole ride.

    At this level, you'll get EXCLUSIVE BACKER UPDATES and a DIGITAL ARCHIVE PASS, granting you private, backers-only access to the making of the documentary. You’ll be able to explore the history we document in the process—tweets, emails, behind the scenes video, brainstorming/production sessions, and more! We have no idea where this journey will take us, but we’ll be documenting the good, the bad and the ugly in creating this documentary. You’ll have access to dig in our proverbial crates.

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    • Exclusive backer updates
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    AND IT DON’T STOP

    Okay, now it's getting serious. We’re talking about hip-hop: this culture-turned-industry that people all over the world spend billions on annually. You're helping us bring to light the stories that have shaped the culture and industry at large. So we want you to be one of the first people to see it.

    At this level, you'll get the DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE DOCUMENTARY and all of the previous rewards.

    *The timing of completion for moving images can be kind of complicated. We will keep you up to date via backer updates regarding the process so that you can anticipate when to expect the digital download.

    Includes:
    • Digital download of the documentary
    • Digital archive pass
    • Exclusive backer updates
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    SKY'S THE LIMIT

    Most of us hip-hop heads have found ways to remix our love of the culture with our passion for all kinds of other things—from food and lyrics, to pets and emcee monikers, curricula and mogul "how-to's." One of Syreeta's is a mix of hip-hop and LEGO bricks.

    At this level, you will get LEGO BUILD INSTRUCTIONS for your very own Source Magazine logo. Can’t get it anywhere else—guaranteed!

    PLUS all of the rewards from AND IT DON’T STOP.

    Includes:
    • Lego build instructions for Source Mag logo
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    ALL OF THE LIGHTS

    For those of you who truly understand how Biggie felt when he said: “It was all a dream / I used to read Word Up! Magazine / Salt ‘n’ Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine,” do we have a gift for you.

    At this level, we’ll send you an AUTOGRAPHED MAGAZINE from writers featured in the documentary and audio of them reading a piece of an article they’ve written.

    We're planning special packaging and exclusive bonus materials, and can promise two things:

    1. It WILL be an awesome collector's item.
    2. It WON'T EVER be offered outside of our campaign!

    PLUS, all of the rewards from SKY'S THE LIMIT!

    *This project will take a while, so some rewards ship sooner than others.

    Includes:
    • Autographed magazine and audio recording
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    PARTY AND BULLSHIT

    NEW REWARD - Invite to the official WRAP PARTY in New York City alongside the documentary’s writers and crew, as we experience a preview of the doc together for the first time.

    PLUS all of the rewards from AND IT DON’T STOP.

    *Travel and accommodations are not included.

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    PHONE HOME

    NEW REWARD - A personal phone call from Write On! director, Syreeta Gates, and an Ink Slinger to say “Thanks!”

    Includes rewards from AND IT DONT STOP + PARTY AND BULLSHIT

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    FEELS SO GOOD

    We want some of our rewards to be just as surprising and unpredictable as the journey of hip-hop. We love this reward…

    At this level, you have VIP ENTRY TO A SCREENING & TALKBACK in one of five major cities (DC, LA, NYC, Chicago, or Miami)*, rubbing shoulders with modern-day legends, and the DIRECTOR'S CUT of the documentary.

    PLUS all of the rewards from ALL OF THE LIGHTS.

    *Travel and accommodations are not included.

    Includes:
    • VIP entry to a screening & talkback
    • Director's Cut of the documentary
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    DON’T SWEAT THE TECHNIQUE

    Looking for an even more exclusive experience? We can do that:

    At this level, you'll be listed as a DIGITAL PRODUCER and will be invited to join us at the WRAP PARTY in New York City alongside the documentary writers and crew, as we experience an excerpt of the doc together for the first time. Bring a friend and join us as we talk about how insane the journey has been to make this film, and most importantly, how amazing it has been to be alive during the the glow up of hip-hop. It'll be a fun night. We want you to be there with us.*

    PLUS... all of the rewards from FEELS SO GOOD!

    *Travel and accommodations not included…but once you get there, we'll take care of the rest of your night.

    Includes:
    • 2 VIP passes to wrap party
    • Digital producer credit
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    BALLIN’

    If you believe that this documentary needs to be done as much as we do—and are willing to put this much money up—you’ll receive ALL OF THE ABOVE REWARDS, plus an invitation to join us on the red carpet at an upcoming film festival.* And, you'll receive the built out 4' LEGO Source Magazine logo!

    This contribution makes you an official member of the phenomenal team, making this real.

    *Travel and accommodations not included… but once you get to the festival, we'll take care of the rest of your stay.

    Includes:
    • Red carpet appearance at film festival
    • Source Magazine logo (4')
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Funding period

- (28 days)