Man on bicycle near burning building. April 30, 1992 (Photo: DAVID BUTOW, SABA / CORBIS)
As the country prepares to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles uprising in April, Showtime will premiere the new feature-length documentary "Burn Motherf*cker, Burn!", which the network describes as an in-depth and provocative look at the watershed moment that influenced the political, social and cultural fabric of the city of Los Angeles and the country.
Directed by Sacha Jenkins ("Fresh Dressed"), "Burn Motherf*cker, Burn!" begins by exploring the complicated relationship between the Los Angeles Police Department and the city's black and minority communities. The film traces a throughline from the 1962 ransacking of a Los Angeles Nation of Islam mosque (which left many injured and one man dead) to the 1965 Watts riots, the rise of L.A. street gangs in the 1970s and '80s, and the Rodney King beating in 1991.
A year later, on April 29, 1992, four LAPD officers were acquitted by a Simi Valley jury on charges of assault, lighting the fuse for the uprising that began that evening and continued for days.
Through the backdrop of these inflection points, the conflict is seen through the lens of three generations of local residents, community organizers, artists and influencers who lived through the uprising, illustrating the root causes, and the continued struggle for social justice.
The films features interviews from a diverse group of Los Angelenos including: Danny Bakewell Sr., Rep. Karen Bass, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Jeff Chang, Perry Farrell, Everlast, B-Real, Cle "Bone" Sloan, KAM, YoYo, Dee Barnes, Norwood Fisher, Dee Dee McNeil, Aqeela Sherrills, Mike Davis, Connie Rice and Norma Mtume.
"Burn Motherf*cker, Burn!" is produced and directed by Sacha Jenkins, and executive produced by Misha Louy on behalf of Mass Appeal.
The 90-minute documentary will premiere on Showtime on Friday, April 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Worth noting, there are other films in the pipeline that will be coming to a screen near you (TV and theater) this year; notable, Turkish-French writer/director Deniz Gamze Ergüven will make her English-language feature film debut with “Kings,” which will star Halle Berry, in a story that will be set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the acquittal of the police officers charged with the excessive beating of Rodney King. Berry will play a mother living in South Central, Los Angeles, where the riots began in April 1992; Daniel Craig will play a white male neighbor and love interest to Berry’s character.
And secondly, John Ridley is working on a feature length documentary for ABC about the racial tensions in Los Angeles in the ’80s and early ’90s, pegged to the 25th anniversary of the 1992 riots. The two-hour doc, “Let It Fall: LA 1982-1992,” will air on ABC in spring 2017.
Also, Spike Lee has directed a taping of Roger Guenveur Smith’s one-man Rodney King show, which has been picked up by Netflix to premiere on April 28 – a date that coincides with what will be the 25th anniversary of the acquittals of the LAPD officers who were videotaped brutally beating King in 1991. Titled “Rodney King,” the work is an adaptation of Smith’s Bessie Award-winning stage production of the same name.
And there are likely others...