About this project
We are making a film titled "SPEAKING IN TONGUES: THE LEGEND OF THE NATIVE TONGUE POSSE." It's a feature length documentary that unravels the “legend” of a music collective known as The Native Tongue Posse - a group of pioneers who, through their mere formation, unwittingly changed the landscape of music and youth culture in the late 80's and early 90's. This legendary collective is comprised of the iconic and groundbreaking acts: THE JUNGLE BROTHERS, DE LA SOUL, A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, QUEEN LATIFAH, BLACK SHEEP, MONIE LOVE and CHI-ALI.
First finding fame in the late 80's, the Native Tongues rose to legendary status in record time, amidst all the social pitfalls that plagued American youth of the era. By choosing to "be themselves," this collective inadvertently fought a system of assimilation, prevalent in a late 80's music industry, that was still figuring out how to handle, nurture and present hip hop to the masses.
The film is a celebratory tale - told by the Posse's original members - of what happens when a group of proverbial "new kids" choose individuality over conformity to become hip hop's new "cool kids." It's the first ever, complete look at a collective that not only made timeless art-filled masterpieces in the form of recorded music, but also championed individuality while spreading messages of Afrocentrism and self-awareness.
First, as the director of this project, I and my production partners believe in this film strongly. Which is why we've invested our time, effort and money in this film over the last eight years.
Second, The Native Tongue Posse were both cultural influencers and musical pioneers who, despite the short lifespan of their movement, never fell out of favor with fans across the globe. Three decades later, their message is still universal, their reach is still global, and their music is still timeless. On the journey to completing this film we have come across a countless number of Native Tongue enthusiasts who want and need to see this film made.
Third, when this project was first conceived, we saw an opportunity to use it as a teaching tool for an entirely new generation of youth. This story is an example of both the necessity and the merits of originality, individuality and self awareness - concepts which every member of the The Native Tongue Posse were fearless champions of. That, along with their obvious musical contributions, and the influence this collective has had over the music and cultural cues of subsequent eras, are what make up the true legacy of the Native Tongue Posse. The societal ripple effects of the Native Tongue movement can still be felt today.
In addition to finalizing principal photography, there's post production, animation, sound design and clearances, that all need to be financially covered before we can get this film out to the masses, and since Kickstarter is a "winner-take-all" type of sport, we've set our fundraising goal at $48,000.
Quite honestly we've taken this project as far as we can on our own. We've invested our own resources for more than 8 years, and have captured more than 40 hours of exclusive footage during that time. However, most successful feature films are the result of a group effort - sometimes the size of a small community. In this instance, we're expanding that community to one of global proportions because we believe people all across the world have been positively affected by the existence of the Native Tongue Posse and want to see a film that successfully tells their story in their own words.
To show our appreciation for your support, we've rounded up a bunch of cool stuff, most of which we'll send to you anywhere in the world just for believing in this project as much as we do.
All the official members of the original collective, in one image. Looks good in a frame, or hanging on the wall as is.
Soft feel and good fit.
A comfy hoodie is always a must.
We made it a point to make these as fly as possible.
Check out the video below to see how this cool little speaker works.
The director is giving up his own personal set of these. Box is unopened, figures are minty fresh (and yes, they have the "Plugs" sealed up in the wrong order.)
Omar Akil (Director/Producer) Omar Akil is an award-winning director, and television producer with two short films screened in festival, and production credits that span more than a decade across several major networks including NBC, ESPN, BET and MTV. Omar produced and co-wrote the four-part documentary series: "THE MESSAGE," for BET/VIACOM Networks; a 2015 NAMIC Vision Awards Nominee. Omar also co-produced and co-wrote the critically acclaimed television documentary "Black Wheels," with legendary filmmaker/actor Tim Reid, in 2005. His short film "The Defendant Rests" won the 2004 H20 Film Festival's Best Narrative Short Award, and in 2006 Omar wrote, produced and directed the 2006 short "Uncle Pop," starring Andre Royo (Empire, The Wire). The completion of “Speaking In Tongues” has been Omar’s passion, for well over 8 years. Omar studied at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Norman Parrish (Producer) Aside from managing music producers who have worked with artist like Jill Scott, Nas and Bilal to name a few, film producer Norman Parrish has licensed music for use in TV commercials (Burger King, Time Warner Cable), films (Belly Soundtrack) and TV programs. Norman was also a contributor to “Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey,” the first official luxury, large format coffee table book on hip-hop culture published by Aria Multimedia Entertainment. Norman is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia.
Benny Boom (Producer) Benny “Boom” Douglas, who serves as producer on "Speaking In Tongues," is a prolific music video and feature film director with roots in West Philadelphia. Currently, Boom is helming All Eyez On Me, the biopic of larger-than-life artist/actor/activist, Tupac Shakur, for Morgan Creek Productions (2016). Shortly after finishing studies at Temple University, Douglas broke into the industry in 2000 by bringing a fresh perspective and edge to the then- stagnant music video scene. For over a decade, he heavily influenced the visual landscape of popular music, crafting memorable clips for platinum artists such as Nicki Minaj, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Keyshia Cole, Akon and 50 Cent. For his efforts, Douglas was awarded B.E.T.’s Video Director of the Year in 2009 and 2013. While building a catalog of over 200 music videos, Douglas also helmed commercial spots for Jeep, Honda, Gatorade, Sears and others. In 2009, Douglas made his feature film debut with the uproarious comedy, Next Day Air (Summit Entertainment), starring Mike Epps, Omari Hardwick and Mos Def. His second film, the action drama S.W.A.T.: Firefight (Sony Pictures/Original Film) was released in 2011. Douglas made his television directorial debut in 2013, with an episode of 90210 (Season 5) for the CW Network, followed by Season 2 of Knock Out, a reality boxing show for FuseTV in 2015. Douglas founded Prophyte Pictures to bring original stories to the big screen and is a principal partner of Groundwurk, Inc., an internet TV agency.
Ramulas Burgess (Director of Photography/Producer) is an American still photographer, & cinematographer who currently resides in Brooklyn NY. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he has used his photography gifts to present dignity, love, contrast & symmetry to his subjects. Ramulas has photographed luminary figures such as Katie Melua, Teo Macero, Chris Brown, Ayo, Jennifer Hudson, & Micheal K. Williams. Maintaining a high standard across both disciplines, Ramulas’ work can be seen on television, album covers, promotions, & various publications. A traveler by nature, Ramulas’ photography has taken him to Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, & Central America.
Risks and challenges
We think the time for this story is now, and we are committed to making the best film we can as quickly as possible. That said, documentary is an art, not an exact science, and there could be some bumps along the way. If production obstacles cause delays, that could mean that we get the film out to you, our backers, later than anticipated. But, based on our experience making films and the strong team we have put together, we are confident that we can make a great film and get a great project out there soon!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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