Rap Icon Chuck D Docuseries Explores Four Decades of Hip-Hop History and Its Resounding Legacy
Premiering Fall 2022
ARLINGTON, VA (January 18, 2022) – PBS and BBC Studios today announced THE STORY OF HIP-HOP WITH CHUCK D (working title), a new four-part series currently in production for broadcast in Fall 2022. The series, developed by Chuck D and his manager Lorrie Boula, rewinds to the birth of hip-hop and traces its role in the story of America from the past 40 years, right up to the present day. Chuck D, legendary artist, activist and co-founder of Public Enemy and Prophets of Rage, will also feature in the production.
Featuring first-hand accounts from some of rap’s most integral players, the series will deconstruct the origins of this bold and revolutionary art form through the voices of those who were there at the start, creating an anthology of how it became a cultural phenomenon against the backdrop of American history. Weaving together interconnected moments via intimate interviews and archival footage, this landmark series explores how hip-hop- from the beginning a provocative and sometimes controversial cultural force, even within the Black community- has been instrumental in giving voice and mobility to marginalized communities, helping confront social issues and driving change.
“The hip-hop community has, from the start, been doing what the rest of media is only now catching up to,” says Chuck D. “Long before any conglomerate realized it was time to wake up, hip-hop had been speaking out and telling truths. Working with PBS and BBC is an opportunity to deliver these messages through new ways and help explain hip hop’s place in history and hopefully inspire us all to take it further.”
“We brought the project to PBS and BBC Studios because they are unparalleled at creating great documentaries. Chuck D and I look forward to working with them to take this account of such an important movement to the world,” adds Lorrie Boula. “People are finally open to hearing and learning about the history of all Americans, and we want to deliver authentic, compelling and truthful stories to them.”
“PBS is excited to join with Chuck D, Lorrie Boula and BBC Studios to bring this illuminating project to audiences across our platforms,” said Bill Gardner, Vice President of Multiplatform Programming and Head of Development for PBS. “Hip-hop is one of the most influential artistic genres and cultural movements of our time, and we’re thrilled to tell a deep and unflinching story with one of its originators and most powerful voices.”
GRAMMY® winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Chuck D was at the vanguard of how this art form became a platform for political expression and a vessel toward social justice. As co-founder of Public Enemy, his music dispatched lessons in Black history and consciousness while striving to dismantle racial constructs. “Fight the Power,” Public Enemy’s groundbreaking single released in 1989, became an anthem that called for unity against oppression and continues to resonate to this day. It is often called the most important hip-hop song of all time, is in the Library of Congress and was named the #2 Greatest Song of All Time in 2021 by Rolling Stone magazine.
THE STORY OF HIP-HOP WITH CHUCK D (working title) is produced by PBS in partnership with BBC Studios. Bill Gardner is the executive in charge for PBS with Chuck D and Lorrie Boula as executive producers. Max Gogarty is the commissioning editor for the BBC, with Sam Emmery as executive producer and Helen Bart as series producer for BBC Studios.
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