BET Launches Hip-Hop Documentary ‘The Message’


In celebration of black music month, BET cable network is launching a four-part documentary series THE MESSAGE, a narrative that examines the evolution of hip-hop and explores the influence of genres in America.

“Hip hop is a seed planted and nourished amongst the ‘broken glass everywhere’ of mid-70s New York. It has grown to be a worldwide phenomenon and the dominant culture of at least one generation,” said Stephen Hill, president of Music Programming and Specials, BET Networks. “This exciting series examines the origin and the path of the music and message, taking care to objectively analyze its factions and movements.”

Here’s a rundown of what each show will entail:

Episode 1 – The Birth and Proliferation of Hip Hop – The premiere episode traces the roots of Hip Hop from its birth in New York and spread to California with limited support from the mainstream media. Watch your favorite rapper reminisce on the first time they heard Hip Hop and be transported to the block parties, DJ Kool Herc’s sound system and the infectious rhymes of the Universal Zulu Nation and Grandmaster Flash. Premieres June 4 at 10:00 pm

Episode 2 – Trials and Tribulations – Will Hip Hop be able to grow up in a world that is no longer just about peace, love, unity and having fun? Hip Hop faces its first roadblocks with violent realities and extreme opposition from those who disagree with its messaging. Meanwhile, a new voice begins to form. Premieres June 11 at 10:00 pm

Episode 3 – Women, Cash, Clothes – Hip Hop explores a new reality of lasciviousness, wealth and entrepreneurship characterized by fast cars, big jewelry, the birth of the video vixen and the start of popular clothing lines including Rocawear, Sean Jean and Wu Wear. Premieres June 18 at 10:00 pm

Episode 4 – The Digital Revolution – The Internet creates new opportunities for Hip Hop to change the face of America. From the rise of the first major Internet superstar rapper Soulja Boy to the infamous 360 deals, this episode explores the future of Hip Hop. Premieres June 25 at 10:00 pm

The documentary features personal testimonies with some of hip-hop’s most influential people, including Russell Simmons, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, MC Lyte, Funkmaster Flex, Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar and much more.

Narrated by Joe Budden, THE MESSAGE, is produced by Sam Walker II, Director of Music Specials and Productions, BET Networks, Keith Clinkscales and The Shadow League Media.

THE MESSAGE premieres on BET Networks on Wednesday, June 4, at 10 pm ET, followed by new episodes each Wednesday throughout the month.

Read more here.

Watch a preview clip of Ice Cube below.