SXSW Film

Daily Reviews and Interviews

Say My Name

Documentary Feature, Documentary Competition

D: Nirit Peled; with MC Lyte, Chocolate Thai, Monie Love, Roxanne Shante, Erykah Badu, Estelle, Georgia Girls, Sparky Dee

"Female MCs' names have always been larger than their record deals," says MC Lyte in this beautifully constructed document of women hip-hop artists. That might even be stretching it: The names themselves have tended to fade toward "obscure" rather than "old-school." Instead of highlighting the few breakout exceptions, Dutch director Peled bores into the history and embraces the breadth of female-driven hip-hop, from way-back upstarts Sparky Dee and Roxanne Shante (age 14 when she hit) to current phenoms Georgia Girls and Estelle. They are stories that start and often end in obscurity but that also encompass the robust lives of talented women, full of good and bad: drug abuse, motherhood, domestic violence, rape, career success. Shot over five years and honed from footage of more than 250 artists, Say My Name avoids the survivor-syndrome trap, instead focusing on drop-dead skills, nonstop style, and at times a ferocity far more terrifying than mere gangsta rap thuggery. It's a lyric both heartbreaking and exhilarating.


Thursday, March 19, 12:30pm, Austin Convention Center

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