Back in the 1980s when hip-hop was a cultural revolution, the rapidly expanding epicenter of all things cool, there was an underlying gap between the culture and its identification with women, especially female MCs.
We were all fighting for our “right to party” and convincing everyone to “walk this way” but these lyrics and songs from the top tier of the hip-hop takeover, and almost all like them, came from male MCs and groups.
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Sure, LL Cool J acquitted himself quite well as an icon of hip-hop, but where did the women stand in the crowd? And what about the white women? Hip-hop was a culture consumed by the cool kids – and still is – but along the way the mainstream manufactured a mangled image of what its audience and artists should be.
“I graduated in 1987, so back then being a white female listening to hip-hop wasn’t as mainstream as it is now. While my peers were listening to Def Leppard and Black Sabbath, I was rocking to LL Cool J and The Fat Boys. People always ask me if I wanted to be a rapper and is that where I got the idea for ‘Snowflake’,” said Kristen Lucas, producer of the upcoming Worcester-based film, “Snowflake,” from Goldilocks Productions.
“I never wanted to be a rapper, but was inspired to tell the story of a white female in a world where she ‘didn’t belong’.”
Lucas is on a mission to defy her own odds — of producing a Hollywood-accepted feature film — through a story that emphasizes breaking down barriers. “Snowflake” is about “an introverted young girl, struggling with acceptance, who finds her voice in hip-hop music” and the production has already begun. The price tag for even a shot at glory, though — $10,000 — is prohibitive.
That’s where Indiegogo comes in, but with merely $630 raised and 11 days left, Lucas has — what’s new? — a long way to go.
“We are trying to raise $10,000 to cover the production costs. Right now, people have come on board the project based on the story and the vision of myself and the director, Cate Carson. We have some visual effects in the film, which will take time and money to execute,” says Lucas. “We are going to submit the film to the Sundance Film Festival and we want to compete with the L.A. filmmakers. We want to show them that you don’t have to live in L.A. to make quality films.”
A Worcester-based film with a storyline about inspiration and acceptance is bound to find local support. The “Snowflake” team is pounding the virtual pavement and buttering up every nook and cranny of social media. With Lucas generating a following of more than 5,000 people, there appears to be a burgeoning dedication to the finalization of the film.
Collaborating with homegrown Woo talent has led Lucas to join forces with Keith Napier, the film’s music supervisor.
“I worked with Kristen on one of my own projects back 2010. A music video called ‘Best with You’ which was produced and filmed in Worcester Tech High School. It was produced by Kristen and myself and shot by Nicholas Black [a popular videographer from Worcester who worked alongside Mike Posner, an international singer/songwriter],” Napier said.
His love for music, particularly hip-hop, has been a part of his life since before he was born. His father played in an old-school ’70s group called Mass Motion, so Napier was introduced to the sweet sounds of R&B early on. “I understand the tone of the character as well as the tone of the music the film needs,” he said. “In some ways a lot of hip-hop artists can and will relate with the struggle of finding their own voice at some point, so it’s important to me that the music tells a story when the dialogue can’t.”
While most of the money will be spent on equipment rentals, visual effects, cast and crew, there is also the expense of screen time.
“There are many details to consider,” Lucas said. “Right now, the script is about 15 pages, so one page equals about one minute of screen time. The money raised will also cover the costs of the music production and studio time for Ava, the lead character.
“This film is a promotional piece to get exposure and interest for the feature length version. A lot of filmmakers do short films first and submit them to film festivals to grab the audience’s interest. That’s the plan with ‘Snowflake’.”
Ava Fratus, 9, a real-life singer and rapper from Carver, stars as lead character, Jesse, and considers herself an “amazing young girl, who is starting in the music business.”
But the branding of women empowerment doesn’t end with the “Snowflake” film. It expands to an entire movement created by Lucas, called #respectHERhustle.
“We’re about women. About self-made moguls and single moms, stars on the soccer field and in the science lab. Women of all ages who are not content to just dream, but must do,” Lucas says on the website.
Lucas plans for the first screening of “Snowflake” to take place in the heart of Worcester before showcasing the work for film festivals and preparing for wide release later in the year.
Lucas said the production seeks extras for filming: children between 9 and 12 years old and adults. Anyone interested should email email@example.com by Saturday, Feb. 20.