( 4UMF NEWS ) Player Hating: A Love Story Review:
No matter the location, there are certain things that are universal in every housing project in this country. Guys smoking blunts in the staircase. Pitbull dogs for pets. Single mothers struggling to do the work for two parents. Grandparents raising children because their parents are strung out, locked up, missing or dead. Smoking and drinking while sitting in the courtyard all types of hours, whether it be two in the afternoon or two in the morning. Trips to department stores not for shopping but for boosting. Men and women in and out of prison. Violence claiming life after life.
Player Hating: A Love Story chronicles Half-a-Mill and his Brooklyn crew as they launch Half’s debut album in a desperate attempt to escape their poverty and violence filled lives living in and around Albany projects.
Filmmaker Maggie-Hadleigh-West gained unprecedented access. Few outsiders, cameras or not, are able to look into the ‘thug life’ that so many Black men struggle to portray, glorify and ultimately survive.
Half, his producer DJ Ali, friends Blood Sport, Unique and Dooliani open up for Hadleigh-West in brutally honest testimonies that will make you laugh, cry and shake your head all at the same time. Blood Sport has scars on his body from being shot, hit in the head with a plate, stabbed by his wife (who ends up getting arrested for shoplifting), and most recently a fresh wound from being grazed by a bullet. Unique has a memorial of tattoos on his arm of family members who were murdered. Dooliani was locked up for seven days for, according to him, no apparent reason. They have become numb to their reality, using marijuana and alcohol as a means to escape feelings of day-to-day hopelessness even if it’s just for a few hours or minutes; however long the high lasts.
At the heart of this movie isn’t about a hip hop artist and his journey; it’s watching a man struggle to trade the pitfalls of project living for the pitfalls of working for greedy executives in the music industry all for the sake of a better living.
Though this movie is about Half and his crew, it could be about anyone growing up in the projects. Though it takes place in Brooklyn, it could be anywhere in the country. Hadleigh-West purposely omitted dates from the movie, making it a timeless piece. The same problems that plagued the ghetto in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, are still there today.
It’s heart-wrenching watching Player Hating because you already know the outcome for much of the crew. Jail or death. But you root for them nonetheless.
- Mick Bogard – 4 The Love Album (4umf.com)