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A Day in Ghana With Kendrick Lamar Documentary Review



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via YOUTUBE spotify "A Day in Ghana With Kendrick Lamar"

Kendrick Lamar released a four-minute documentary in collaboration with Spotify this past week (Jun. 17). What can fans expect?

Meeting Kendrick and Accra

We open with several rapid shots of Ghanaians living their everyday lives. Instantly, Kendrick presents his thesis; beautiful black people. This is an extremely persistent theme in Kendrick’s art, from his humble first mixtape Youngest Head Nigga in Charge (Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year), to his Grammy award-winning damn. The camera sets on Kendrick watching some boys box in the street, as he sets the stage.

“First time in Ghana,” he says, camera looming over his head.

The setting is Accra, Ghana. In his hometown of Compton, Kendrick would probably be dodging phone cameras and endless crowds. But In Accra, the 35-year-old can casually play some foosball outside.

“I can’t even tell you what day it is, I just be in the moment.”

The future of skating

Lamar’s ‘Crown’ echoes in the back while the camera pans across Freedom Skate Park. Skating has become a bit of a phenomenon with kids in Ghana recently. Skaters like Joshua Odamtten have launched the sport into popularity in the small nation. Now, Ghanaian boys and girls are going viral for their mainly self-taught tricks.

Freedom Skate Park is a former hospital repurposed for the youth of the community. This safe haven for Accra was developed by Skate Nation and Surf Ghana, and erected in Virgil Abloh’s honor. Abloh first reached out personally to Skate Nation after seeing them in Vogue Magazine. Immediately, the designer and skate crew saw eye to eye and began collaborating on the logo, brand identity, and ramp design of Freedom Skate Park.

A large portrait stands brightly in Freedom Skate Park to honor the entrepreneur, who tragically passed from cardiac angiosarcoma in November last year.

“How it makes them feel to be over here. Virgil, what he means to them you know, as far as letting them have this creative space for them to enjoy themselves. They’re special.” Kendrick explained upon being asked what he speaks to the East African youth about.

Getting some help

The doc quickly transitions to a more personal perspective, as the focus becomes Kendrick’s latest album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. In his fifth studio album, Kendrick explores the topic of mental health amongst his black male peers and the rejection of traditional therapy. This reflects his real experiences as the ‘DNA’ rapper just recently began unlearning the “black men don’t need therapy” trope.

“One of my favorite lines in the album is where’ll say you really need to go to therapy. And I say real niggas don’t go to therapy.” the West Coast artist says with a laugh. The image of Kendrick and a group of friends on the beach underlies this narrative of black men taking the steps to self-healing.

“Cause that’s how niggas feel. You know what I’m saying we grew up where our parents don’t know about that our grandparents don’t know about that. “ Kendrick explained.

“To challenge myself to go to therapy, that’s like a whole new step in a whole new generation. That’s growth.”

Show don’t tell

The visuals are the star of this show. Of course, Kendrick’s narrations and the accompanying music do their part. However, it’s the kids playing soccer, houses stacked by the brim, and friends smiling on the beach, that make ‘A Day in Ghana with Kendrick Lamar’ truly special. Getting an intimate look into a West African country outside of the usual lens of poverty is extremely refreshing.

This doc contains no sad violin music or starving bodies. Ghana specifically and purposefully isn’t portrayed as a place to feel pity for. ‘A Day in Ghana with Kendrick Lamar’ is a love letter to black adversities and experiences. Whether those experiences are a kid learning to skateboard in Accra, or a grown man in California going to therapy for the first time, they’re equally rich and valid. This is particularly reinforced through the doc’s final words and Kendrick’s ‘Duckworth’ serving as an epilogue soundtrack.

“Everything we do out here, everything that we say everything that’s been done, it’s all a representation of all of us.”

Although the video is admittedly short, it provides that signature Kendrick authenticity. It’s storytelling at its most simple, and it’s effective.

Watch for yourself and see what you think of ‘A Day in Ghana with Kendrick Lamar’.

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Dreema Carrington|IG@dr3amgirl79|Twitter: @notdreema


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An ambitious young journalist from Baltimore, Maryland with a passion for releasing candid and accurate information to the public. Has experience in broadcast, reporting, and editing. Always strives to make stories unique and captivating while telling the truth. Currently pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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