Public Enemy: Prophets of Rage

Image for Public Enemy: Prophets of RageNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Episode 4 of 4

Duration: 1 hour

In the late 1980s Public Enemy were the biggest rap group on the planet. Their mission: to raise the consciousness of a generation. With a rebellious attitude to match their militant image they sold millions of records preaching pro-black politics to fans of all races, all done through a groundbreaking wall of noise that changed the sound of hip hop. White, middle Americans were outraged, but their kids loved it.

Not surprisingly, this confrontational approach attracted controversy. Critics claimed the group themselves were racist, exposing racial divides rather than promoting equality. They were banned from some TV and radio stations and when one member reportedly made anti-Semitic remarks in a newspaper interview the resulting media-storm threatened to end their career. Tensions were running high and arguments within the band ended in violence. Could they keep it together long enough to get their message across?

Includes exclusive new interviews with Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Hank and Keith Shocklee and the S1Ws. Plus contributions from Run DMC, Method Man (Wu-Tang Clan), Anthrax's Scott Ian, Jurassic 5's Chali 2na, Bahamadia, writer and activist Kevin Powell and DJ Dave Pearce.

  • BBC TV Blog: Interviewing Public Enemy

    BBC TV Blog: Interviewing Public Enemy

    "They were very accommodating in helping us to make this programme and I was surprised at their candour and openness when it came to the interviews".

    Read producer / director James Hale’s post

Credits

Narrator
Ras Kwame
Producer
James Hale
Director
James Hale
Executive Producer
Gethin Scourfield
Executive Producer
Paul Bullock

Broadcasts

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