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Dave Chappelle's Block Party


Stars: Dave Chappelle, Mos Def, Dead Prez, Bilal, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill

Director: Michel Gondry

Comedian Dave Chappelle has been around as a film cameo player and US TV star since 1993 without becoming a name the British public will recognise.

His huge popularity in his home country, however, gave the fast-talking comic the clout to organise a star-studded rap concert in the midst of one of New York's poorer quarters. The event took place in September 2004 and, despite constant rain, was a raging success.

To non-rap lovers. nearly two hours of the concert might be a bit much, but the energy and adrenalin involved are undeniable and, late in the film, there are always the slightly more conventional (and considerable) singing talents of Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott to appreciate.

But, even given the apparent good relations between white and black and Chappelle's own cross-racial humour - 'I predicted the DC sniper was black "cos he was taking weekends off - the bonhomie of the concert is occasionally ruffled by disturbing undercurrents of aggression and resentment.

Despite Chappelle's assertion that 'we shook the world', it would appear that it might take more than a block party to change some of the conditions in the tenements of Flatbush NY.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Optimum. Color by De Luxe.
103 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 09 Jul 2006