Fear of a Black Hat is an American film on the evolution and how American hip hop has fared all through the years. The film depicts the perspective of a film maker, Nina Blackburn, who trails hard-core gangsta rappers by the name Niggas With Hats or N.W.H. the film covers the life of NWH by Nina Blackburn, their rise and fall and how they manage a wide range of parody. The film is told from the point of view of Nina Blackburn who analyses hip hop as a form of communication for her studies. She follows the NWH and familiarizes with the band members, their beliefs and their often strange behavior.
Rebellion as a result of Racism
Although a ‘mockumentary,’ Fear of a Black Hat addresses the theme of rebellion especially with a special focus on the back community. At the start of the film, we see that NWH, like most other blacks during the early 1990s, are struggling in their Tough neighborhood, USA.
The black community through N.W.H.’s rap group is depicted as a people with strange behavior. The NWH members wear outrageous headgear during their performances. This is seen as an act of rebellion as the NWH remember their ancestors and the slavery times. It is claimed that their ancestors during the slavery times used to work bare-headed in the sun and now the NWH claim that they want to wear hats as an act of rebelling and resisting the times that their hatless ancestors went through; they were too tired working all day to revolt but the NWH have the opportunity to rebel.
Another form of rebellion is the group’s use of such ‘outlawed’ and over hip hop graphic language that are seen by many as not being appropriate. Most of the group’s acts are of rebellious in nature, using lewd lyrics, ranting against the police and orchestrating violence. However, according to them, this is a socially relevant way of expressing themselves. Throughout the movie, it is hard to tell whether the NWH members are just being rebellious or just funny and want attention. Sometimes they use jaw dropping explanations for their vulgar language use and with songs like “Come and Pet the P.U.S.S.Y.” and “Booty Juice” may have some rebellion theme in them. Tasty-Taste raps that although they are anti-violence, anyone who says to the contrary “…I am going to bust a cap in your ass!” This basically shows that they will rebel anybody with a different opinion on them as it is their duty to bang anyboy with their guns. He further reveals that the guns they own are now registered with the state because it is a “state of siege.”
The rappers rebellious nature sees them not wanting to associate with Jam Boy’s lead rapper because it is rumored that he may have attended a prep school. This they feel will discredit their street credibility. In fact most of the time of NWH, they are in constant feuds with the other rap group, Jam Boys, especially, because of their lead singer. The rebellion goes a notch higher when a number of white managers die under some mysterious circumstances. It is suspected that they are involved in the murders of these managers. There is even more controversy when their song Kill Whitey seems to advocate killing of whites. One of their managers, an Italian called Deluca, was murdered although they claim they were out of town by then.
In their rap contests, the rappers seem to address the issue of racism that has made them rebellious. In excerpts from the lyrics of Just A Human, Tone Deaf raps, “im just a human just a human being… Cause we are all one race on this planet.” He warns on some races acting as being superior to others rapping further thus,
we all burp and fart, and that’s the way God planned it
So don’t act like your superior
eat something bad an just like me you’ll get diarrhea
Cause black, white, yellow, red, brown or gold
Even when discussing the title of the new album with Nina Blackburn, Ice Cold replies to her after she asks the name of the album, “But see actually that shit was suppose to be “NWH: Fear Of A Black Hat,” subtitled “Don’t Shoot ‘Til You See The Whites.”
Although the film is a comedy, it addresses the theme of rebellion which was brought about by racism on the black community. Racism has seen some members of the black community disrespect the white people as seen in their rap songs and disrespect for the federal state which is basically white dominated.