There were a million and one ways Hollywood could have messed this movie up.
Thankfully, they did not. They started by having the presence of mind to cast black actors in the role of actual black people.
They don’t always get that right. But this time they did.
There are a lot of black people in this film.
Ironically, but perhaps authentically, a many of the stadium concert scenes were filled with white extras in the seats. I found that somewhat odd, but I never went to an NWA concert as a child, so perhaps that was accurate. It is a fact (don’t ask for sources) that hip-hop earned its wealth through album sales in the white suburbs. So the concert scenes in this film were a very subtle, but powerful nod to that idea.
When I first heard there would be an NWA movie, I was scared that it would be wack. Now that I’ve seen it, I am truly happy with how it was done! Most, if not all of the roles were cast perfectly. To me, the standout was Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, but every actor did a good job. I was very happy to see Aldis Hodge as well–it’s just a shame that it was in the relatively small role of MC Ren.
As is the theme of my reviews, I reiterate that there are black people in this film. However, you will not see many black women. Although the ones you do see are depicted positively (Dr. Dre’s mom as well as the partners of the NWA leads), you will not see a conversation about the misogyny of the era and of the genre. While that’s a disappointment, I don’t think social justice warriors would be disappointed in the authentic portrayal of the meaning of NWA as a moment in time, especially juxtaposed against the Rodney King verdict and ensuing riots.
I liked this film. I really did. I encourage you all to see it while it is in theaters.