Directed by music video director Joseph Kahn and produced by rapper Eminem, NEON and Youtube Originals’ new film BODIED premieres November 2nd. This film is a controversial body of work that, like practically every other movie, takes the viewer through a Black reality via a white protagonist.
The film’s point of view is from English Literature student, Adam, who begins with studying the derogatory diction commonly utilized in Battle Rap and quickly falls into participating himself. He romanticizes and attempts to assume the truths of Black self-expression. Interacting with his favorite battle rapper, Ben, for most of the plot, he develops a relationship between mentor and friend. With this, racial tensions and stigmas pop up everywhere and thus enters the oh-so-popular: woke culture.
Adam juggles life between his girlfriend, Maya, and academic career of overtly white liberal agendas with the purposefully degrading atmosphere and aggression of battle rap. He attempts to justify all of his behavior with the fact that he is, indeed, woke. There are several perspectives shown towards his racist, misogynistic, homophobic and generally offensive dialogue, ranging from supportive to detesting. Then, when Ben’s wife voices her opinion of his clear taking advantage of his white privilege, Adam continues to show anger towards her for being so quick to blame and for not explaining racism to white people enough.
The entire movie is white-washed from its interactions to it’s finish, concluding with Adam being deemed a hero regardless of his ongoing vile actions. Ben, as a character, exists tangentially to Adam and is seen as the viewer’s glimpse into Black life while racial issues and social tensions are centered around the feelings and reactions of Adam and end up glorifying him.
Battle Rap is multidimensional and dynamic, forcing the viewer to contemplate what words mean in and out of a rap battle. BODIED continues the popular conservative argument white people pose that they feel Black people need to take into consideration how the white person feels, ignorant to the fact that they never have. BODIED is up for interpretation. Should white thought even be taken into consideration during a Black art? Does the directional choice include white-wash work satirically towards its lesson? Is there enough Black and POC representation? I recommend seeing it so you can formulate your stance on the movement the film supports and how the white-centric nature plays towards its morals.