The Royal’s newest screening series, BLACK GOLD, is back at it again, folks! Celebrating the best of black cinema and its heroes from then ‘til now, this Black Gold is excited to present our July film – the 1998 hip-hop classic cult film, BELLY!
Hype William’s directorial debut and only feature film to date, Belly is the visual and creative apex of his work as one of the best (if not THE best) music video directors in hip-hop history. Written by Williams, Nas, and Anthony Bodden, Belly follows, with unparalleled visual flair, the lives of two young New York criminals, Tommy “Bundy” Bunds (played by DMX), and Sincere “Sin” (Nas), and features T-Boz, Method Man, and Taral Hicks in supporting roles. While this was an age where rappers steadily came to infiltrate the world of film and television, the genius of Belly’s casting lies in the fact that both DMX and Nas’ characters draw extensively from the real-life personas both rappers had come to cultivate over the course of their established musical careers.
While critically maligned at the time, Belly is without a doubt a movie you need to SEE, not just watch. Much more than “just a long music video,” with Belly Williams created a world which translated street nihilism into a vibrant, dark, and innovative visual aesthetic and took up themes regarding the prison industrial complex, the movement of drugs and violence into inner cities, black on black crime, black conceptions of beauty, religion, and black diaspora. Belly’s embrace of rap and R&B music video aesthetics, many of which Williams had been at the creative helm of, is exactly the point – the film’s prodigious, ultraviolet opening sequence says it all.
Come through and stimulate your senses. We’ve got prizes!
7:30 PM: HYPE WILLIAMS PRE-SHOW
8:00 PM: BELLY
Friday, Jul 21 - 8:00pm