LOS ANGELES — VH1 is teaming up with acclaimed filmmakers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman (“Cocaine Cowboys,” “Broke,” “The U”) and famed author, award-winning entrepreneur, advertising executive, and record executive Steve Stoute for a 4-part documentary series based on Stoute’s best-selling book, “The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy.”VH1’s “The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop” is a thorough examination of hip-hop as a cultural movement, whose profound influence in music, film, television, fashion, business, race relations and politics eventually paved the way for the election of Barack Obama. Stoute notes, “Since its birth, hip-hop has been a reflection of black America, but never before have we seen it cast as such a far-reaching agent of political change. This film paints an entirely new picture of the impact hip-hop culture over the last 30 years.” The 4-part 4-hour series will premiere Monday, February 24-Thursday, February 27 at 11pm* on VH1.
VH1’s “The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop”provides a visual history of the hip-hopification of America – what Stoute calls “tanning” — from “The Jeffersons” to the Fresh Prince; from “Do the Right Thing” to “8 Mile;” from the streets of Compton to Madison Ave; and rappers turned into entrepreneurs and icons. The series unfolds in 4 one-hour episodes that together explore history’s pivotal “tanning” moments from the 1970s to present day, and how deep hip-hop is woven into the American cultural fabric. It’s the history of hip-hop remixed: an epic journey that begins in the Bronx and travels all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
VH1’s “The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop”features never-seen-before footage and interviews from numerous pop culture icons and entertainment personalities in America: Sean “Diddy” Combs, Dr. Dre, Mariah Carey, Will.i.am, Russell Simmons, Pharrell, Nas, Reverend Run, Rick Rubin, Fab 5 Freddy, Jimmy Iovine, Al Sharpton, Cory Booker, Brett Ratner, Brian Grazer, Tommy Hilfiger, Ron Howard, Steve Stoute and many more.
Episode 1: Word is Bond
1970s – 1986: From Blaxploitation films through groundbreaking television like “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons;” racial strife in New York City and the birth of hip-hop; the rise of Def Jam and Run DMC breaking thru on MTV; the 80s success of Eddie Murphy and the Cosby Show.
Episode 2: Fight the Power
1987 – 1992: From the dawn of political and gangsta rap through the debut of hip-hop movies to the election of Bill Clinton; Arsenio Hall; the Fresh Prince; hip-hop’s influence on fashion and Madison Ave; the Beastie Boys; The Source magazine; Yo! MTV Raps; MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice; the LA riots and racial strife in America.
Episode 3: Gimme the Loot
1993 – 1999: The rise of Snoop and Dr. Dre, hip-hop hits the suburbs; Tommy Hilfiger turns hip-hop fashion into millions; Biggie and Puffy, Jay and Nas, Ghetto Fabulous and Bling; the influence of music videos; Vibe magazine; the rise of FUBU and Jacob the Jeweler; Will Smith saving the world in Independence Day and Time Magazine proclaiming America as a “hip-hop nation.”
Episode 4: All Around the World
2000 – present: From Eminem to hip-hop empires; Sean John and Rocawear; Vitamin Water and Beats by Dre; hip-hop slang pervades the culture; Ice Cube, Ice T and Queen Latifah become lovable TV and film stars; the dawn of a new political movement in hip-hop; Vote or Die; Hurricane Katrina and the election of the first African American president.
“The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop” is produced by Rakontur, with Billy Corben directing and Alfred Spellman producing. Steve Stoute is executive producer on the project. Executive producing for VH1 are Susan Levison, Ben Zurier, Shelly Tatro, Brad Abramson and Stephen Mintz.
Social Media: In celebration of “The Tanning of America” and the impact hip hop has had on the nation, fans everywhere are encourage to share how they’ve experienced hip hop’s influence with #HipHopChangedUs via Twitter, Vine, Instagram and Facebook then VH1 will select their favorites to highlight each week. Follow @VH1Music on Facebook and Twitter to see exclusive #HipHopChangedUs clips featuring Diddy, Dr. Dre, and other celebrities from “The Tanning of America.”
Starting February 20th, VH1.com will present a 7 day series of #HipHopChangedUs segments featuring cross-cultural notables in music, fashion, news and more. Then during each premier fans are invited to live tweet with VH1, Steve Stoute, and surprise talent featured in “The Tanning of America” documentary.
VH1’s Emmy Award winning Rock Docs are feature-length documentaries that tell unique stories of artists and music from a wide range of genres, styles and musical perspectives.
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