Charlie Ahearn’s Documentary “Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer”


Photo by Jame Shabazz

From Friday, August 2 through Thursday, August 8, BAMcinématek presents the US theatrical premiere of veteran hip-hop filmmaker Charlie Ahearn’s “Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer,” featuring an opening night Q&A with Ahearn, Jamel Shabazz, and legendary hip-hop innovator Fab 5 Freddy, and a Saturday night Q&A with Ahearn, hip-hop multihyphenate Bobbito Garcia, and artist David “Chino” Villorente, who has designed a limited edition poster for the documentary.

Ahearn (director of the first hip-hop feature ever, the seminal Wild Style) paints a definitive portrait of the titular Brooklyn native Shabazz, who documented New York urban street culture for decades before he became discovered internationally through the 2005 publication of his book Back in the Days. In the infancy of hip-hop, Shabazz documented the pioneers of music and style who launched an enduring worldwide phenomenon, and Ahearn pays tribute to both Shabazz and his subjects, those who defined hip-hop before it had a definition. Beyond simply vintage shots of kids rocking Puma Suedes, Kangols, and pinstriped Jordaches in Times Square and Fort Greene Park, Shabazz’s photographs have hundreds of stories behind them. Ahearn gives voices to these images with dozens of interviews with Shabazz himself, graffiti pioneer and hip-hop historian Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Brathwaite, legendary rapper KRS-One, and others.

“Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer” had its world premiere in 2011 to a standing-room-only crowd at BAMcinemaFest, BAM’s annual showcase of the best in American independent cinema. Since its festival premiere, the film has been expanded to 81 minutes for its theatrical release. BAM will also present a photography exhibit in conjunction with the release.

Screens Friday, August 2—Thursday, August 8 at 4:30, 7, and 9:30 pm with additional 2 pm matinees Friday—Sunday.

BAM Rose Cinemas

30 Lafayette Avenue

(between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street)

Brooklyn, NY 11217

(718) 636-4100

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Subway: B, D, Q, N, R, 2, 3, 4, 5, M to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center

About this organization

BAM Rose Cinemas

The four-screen cinema opened in 1998 to screen new independent and foreign films. The series BAMcinématek started a year later, presenting repertory films.