Last month or so I stumbled across an event happening right within the heart of Brixton, this was made up of loud music booming across the high street where the hustle & bustle of Brixton restricted my acknowledgement of what was going on. Not long after it was brought to my attention that Netflix were hosting an event and Dr Dre was to make an appearance. If we’re talking about legends in the game it’s not very often you catch them close to your hometown.
Soon after I found myself back where all the noise was being generated from but this time I found out more than what was expected. A red carpet event in the middle of Brixton hosted by Netflix and Beats to launch the new documentary film directed by Allen Hughes and starring Dr Dre & Jimmy Iovine ‘The Defiant Ones’. Now I had great interest in the pair through various reasons. Growing up listening to music from the era of Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Biggie & 2 Pac always gave me chills both good and bad, especially when discovering more about their come up stories. Also not forgetting about the recent biography film; Straight Outta Compton which focused on N.W.A and it’s members. I always heard the Jimmy Iovine name lingering around over the past few years but never looked into his back story till the day I watched his Blueprint episode on Complex. He has a catalogue of achievements from co-founding Interscope Records & signing 2 Pac to co-founding Beats by Dre with Dre.
From Left to Right: Allen Hughes, Dr Dre & Jimmy Iovine
So as you can imagine the pair visiting Brixton for a premiere rather than the prestigious locations around London was quite a big deal for the locals. Arriving at the event the atmosphere was sweet, Julie Adenuga hosted the red carpet whilst a DJ spun the vibes for the night. I had noticed that there was a divide in people around the red carpet; there were those that were going into the actual screening via the red carpet, the local faces who were looking upon the event and obviously the press. This had me standing from a far thinking who should really be attending this cultural event. As a local but also as a founder of an entertainment marketing agency operating within urban culture I was on a mission to be a part of the whole experience and not just look from a distant. Noticing all the influencers arriving, British celebrities and also those who looked as if they were part of the organisation of the event, I couldn’t help but feel there were people missing who could make this event even more impactful.
As someone who works alongside influencers with a number of different brands and projects I am known by a few for bringing together a great mix of influencers. Due to it’s cultural purpose one of the influencers assumed we (Kinde LDN) was behind the event but this wasn’t the case. However, this made me more determined to be welcomed into the screening, not long after seeing Dr Dre & Jimmy Iovine live in the flesh. As you’re probably waiting in suspense to find out….yes I was finally invited into the screening due to determination & patience.
Ritzy Cinema Screening for 'The Defiant Ones'
Sitting in front of the screen I still felt the missing presence of those that should have also been invited out to the premiere but I felt I was a good representative regardless. ‘The Defiant Ones’ the documentary focusing on the lives of Jimmy Iovine & Dr. Dre; two men from two different worlds who compliment each other in so many ways. Those who know the come up of these two legends can probably guess what the true meaning behind ‘The Defiant Ones’ is, well I knew to a certain extent but still went to retrieve a further meaning in the Oxford dictionary. To be defiant is an "act of open resistance" or "bold disobedience" & in other words you’re ready to war.
After the first episode of the documentary series we learn more about the pairs come up, their surroundings and a few of the obstacles they faced to make it to the top. The first episode took us through the basics from how the Straight Outta Compton film came about to the logistics behind the Beats deal with Apple. After the screening a Q+A with Dre, Jimmy and the director of the film Allen Hughes lead them to exploring more into what the documentary was about. Being from two different worlds doesn’t limit the effectiveness of a collaboration, however this may come with many challenges which can be broken if the right formulas are added along the journey. Through the Q+A I also got to learn that Allen Hughes directed some of my favourite films such as The Book of Eli & Menace II Society.
Iovine & Dre explained the elements that go into the formula that creates a successful career especially when working alongside others. Iovine explained whilst making reference to being in Brixton that being fearless was something that he implemented into his character in order to make a success of his life. Meeting Dr Dre meant that he had to dwell in a different kind of world. This world included growing up in the hood like many of us, where in those days a gang lifestyle was the environment one was accustomed to. Also being from this world meant that we would often find it hard to trust those outside of it. Dre had to overcome this in order to let someone like Iovine in, in order to let fate manifest. Even though Iovine was from a completely different background; what intertwined the two lifestyles is the ability to be motivated. The typical story of a young male to make it out their neighbourhood or mothers house is enough motivation to evolve and step onto the next level, and carrying that same mentality through allows one to not get comfortable but to always see the opportunity to make the next move. This requires reinvention where we should be able to pluck up the courage to see over the hill. Dr Dre also explains that you have to have the determination to do what you love to be successful and not just that but to stay committed. This includes friendships as well which is what has made Jimmy & Dre the ideal partnership.
So my questions to you all is, who are the Defiant Ones? If Dr Dre & Jimmy Iovine are defiant, who is defiant where we’re from, within our community, in our city. A few names come to mind when identifying who is defiant; Giggs an ex-gang member who followed his passion to make music despite years of facing challenges from the police & the industry, only has just recently been reaching stardom. Or someone like Ashley Walters who started off as a rapper in So Solid Crew experienced many challenges from the law coming up but still managed to break barriers within music and beyond with his current successful career as an actor. Even more closer to home, some of us may class our mothers as defiant for getting through the struggle to bring us up in such a tough environment, I sure do. And without sounding too cocky I would like to think of myself as defiant as I believe I will do what it takes to make it to the top, whatever obstacles or challenges that come my way I’ll be war ready. I believe this type of character in me is what got me into the premiere itself and will continue to do so till I will no longer have to stumble across the event but instead will play a key role in the organisation of such an event.
This has lead me to thinking how brands such as Netflix can create a better impact. Bringing a premiere such as this one to the streets of Brixton has a bigger purpose than just calling your typical influencers or industry friends to. I would have loved to see key members of the Brixton communities at the screening who I feel would benefit more from being at such an event as well as Dr Dre and the cast benefiting from their presence. Young men such as Jaja Soze or Karl Lokko; both ex notorious gang members who have used their influence in their communities to help the younger generations come up better through a number of resources such as music and business or Solomon Smith who is on a mission to defeat homelessness in Brixton (Brixton Soup Kitchen) despite having his own personal challenges such as Dyslexia. The inclusion of key people such as the ones mentioned will help brands like Netflix become more impactful in their operations and also removes communication barriers between the brands and this particular type of audience. When I mentioned earlier how defiant I am or aim to be it was not so I can big myself up but because this is what I aim to do with Kinde LDN. With a mission to inspire and empower the future generation, we was formed not only to help brands achieve objectives and develop new & exciting ways they could access a younger generation but also to help those from a minority background access opportunities they wouldn't usually be considered for. We are on a mission to help brands to be more defiant. In reference to Jimmy Iovine it is our come up stories that make us who we are, and it is our struggles what makes us defiant. 'The Defiant Ones' is out now on Netflix!