The Unauthorized Biographies
January 11, 2010 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Rapper Shaun Boothe is now midway through his 12 part series of "unauthorized biographies", which showcase short history lessons about some of the major black figures of our time. Thus far, he's covered James Brown, Bob Marley (my favorite), Muhammed Ali, Martin Luther King (and briefly, Barack Obama), Jimi Hendrix, and Sean "Puffy" Combs. He's gotten some play and good press from major underground hip-hop media, due next in the series is a biography of Oprah Winfrey.
posted by rollbiz (13 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
it's all a matter of perspective I guess, and when you say "major black figures" you really mean major african american figures of the late 20th C, but I will bet that historians will struggle to recall P Diddy before too long.
posted by wilful at 5:24 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


These are great! (Well, actually, I've only watched the Bob Marley one so far). Reminds me of this post and the amazing performance of "The Hamilton Mixtape".
posted by billysumday at 5:26 PM on January 11, 2010


Dunno. I'd much rather any biographies of major black figures of our time include more statesmen, entrepreneurs, authors and scientists. It's part of the pernicious culture of racism to assume any successful black man or woman is either an entertainer or an athlete.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:39 PM on January 11, 2010


Yeah, but they were GREAT entertainers and athletes.
posted by Senator at 5:41 PM on January 11, 2010


(You didn't actually watch the videos, did you?)
posted by rollbiz at 5:44 PM on January 11, 2010


This is very, very good. It's really worth watching these videos.
posted by ferdydurke at 5:58 PM on January 11, 2010


The MLK one is all I've watched so far but it was awesome.
posted by XMLicious at 6:49 PM on January 11, 2010


I am white as Casper the Ghost but every one of these has had me holding back tears.
posted by localroger at 7:22 PM on January 11, 2010


Okay, the Puffy Combs piece does not have me holding pack tears. And I don't have shall we say sniffly hopes for the upcoming Oprah installment.
posted by localroger at 7:37 PM on January 11, 2010


Very powerful, consumable biographies. The James Brown one was a real surprise. I had not realised his massive influence. The Puffy Combs one left me cold - not from execution, but the subject. I would have also liked to have seen other figures apart from obvious entertainers covered as Slap*Happy suggests.
posted by russmaxdesign at 7:54 PM on January 11, 2010


Don't Cry For Me, I Fucked J-Lo,
And own the rights to Biggy's back catalogue,
All through the Death Row beef,
And Suge Knight's bullshit,
I kept on dancing,
I kept on coining it.

And as for fortune, and as for fame,
I never insisted on appearing on all those videos,
And I deserved those writing credits for contributing a line or two

I paid the royalties (after deductions, of course)
And I never hung anyone out of a hotel balcony,
By the ankles or by the toes,
And that gun thing -- well that's just how stuff goes.

And poor old Tupac, he just went strange,
A mind will wander when you're kneeling down,
With a prisoner's penis half way down your throat,
Though if truth be told, he always was a bit of a scrote.

Don't cry for me Metafilter,
The truth is, you never bought my shit anyway,
Behind your wild snark,
Lies sales resistance,
My stuff keeps selling,
Through pure persistence
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:18 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dunno. I'd much rather any biographies of major black figures of our time include more statesmen, entrepreneurs, authors and scientists. It's part of the pernicious culture of racism to assume any successful black man or woman is either an entertainer or an athlete.

I see what you're saying, but perhaps you don't understand how important Ali and James Brown are to the culture. You can't just lump them together as any old athlete or entertainer. Muhammad Ali, for example, said and did things that no major athlete, black or white, would dare say or do today, lest they jeopardize their multiple endorsements. They were outspoken, they said what they thought and didn't shirk away from sharing their opinions lest they offend the masses. They stood up for black people, loudly, and people heard them. That meant a lot to (black) people and it still does.
posted by girlmightlive at 6:19 AM on January 12, 2010


Wow. Those were really, really good
posted by bitteroldman at 9:26 AM on January 12, 2010


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