New Jack City Reunion

If you haven’t seen the iconic motion picture New Jack City, then you haven’t lived… myself included. To my surprise, I’d never seen it until the 32nd anniversary screening at the Tribeca Film Festival last night! I’d heard of it growing up in Nigeria, know many of the accompanying landmark music, but never saw the movie. Yeah, shame on me. I’m forever grateful to my dear friend, a world renowned artist Renee Cox for the invitation. She was in attendance in support of her childhood friend, the movie director Mario Van Peebles, and had me tag along. I was at the edge of my seat clutching imaginary pearls, transposed by each jaw dropping scenes! To think there was a time America was in fact like what was depicted in this movie?! It was mind-blowing!

The picture would mark the triumphant directorial debut of Mario Van Peebles, and onscreen acting debut of many of the actors including Vanessa Williams, Michael Michele and Chris Rock. It was astonishing to see young Ice T and Wesley Snipes go toe to toe onscreen. They all gave riveting performances, definitely one for the ages!

It was interesting to hear the cast talk about the inspirations, behind the scenes and making of certain iconic scenes in the movie (see the video below). Many of which has now paved the way for others like it. It was so profound and influential at the time of its debut in a drug drenched society of 1991 and still holding solid weight in a social media/hip-hop culture of 2023. New Jack city was ahead of its time with catch phases such as being “canceled”, a very diverse cast and well thought out plots that’s educational and life changing for its viewers at any generation.

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