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Exclusive: Ron Howard Opens Up About Directing Jay Z’s ‘Made In America’

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Ron Howard has never directed a documentary before. But, that didn’t stop him from saying yes when an opportunity came his way to direct Jay Z’s music festival “Made in America.”

HipHollywood sat down with the Oscar winning director about his latest film Rush, and also got the scoop on how he came to direct Hip Hop mogul Jay Z.

“They needed somebody to direct some behind the scenes footage”, explained Howard who initially heard about the opportunity from his producing partner Brian Grazer. “I went in and I met with Jay Z and I said I don’t that much about music and and I’ve never made a documentary, and he said ‘that’s exactly it, that’s why we want you.”

The film chronicles the inaugural “Made in America” festival, which took place last year in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend. Howard, who immersed himself in Formula One racecar driving for Rush, found himself similarly thrust into a new world of music, capturing performances by Pearl Jam, Skrillex, and Run-DMC (in the rap group’s first live performance since the death of Jam Master Jay in 2002).

“The spirit of the whole thing is this sort of genre blend,” said Howard. “There were a lot of artisit that I didn’t know anything at all about who are now on my iPod.”

Made in America debuts October 11th on Showtime. Check out the trailer below.

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EXCLUSIVES

Netflix’s ‘Step Sisters’ Is ‘Bring It On’ … But Way More Woke!

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Netflix is getting ready to “Bring It On” … in more ways than one. The streaming service’s new flick Step Sisters is reminiscent of the 90s dance film, but delves deeper into racial themes like cultural appropriation, tokenization and interracial dating.

In the film Megalyn Echikunwoke (Arrow) plays the president of a black sorority who is tasked with teaching one of the campus’ white sororities how to step for a charity competition. At first glimpse the film seems to be stepping into a can of worms — and had folks on Twitter up in arms, but the creators and cast told HipHollywood it isn’t about cultural appropriation but instead cultural exchange.

“There’s a strong political message, and there’s a lot of racial content,” said Nia Jervier. “But I think that the pill that may be difficult to swallow is dipped in honey, because it’s funny.”

What also helps is that producer/writers like Lena Waithe (Masters of None), Chuck Hayward (Dear White People) and Ben Cory Jones (Underground) are behind the project – so you know it’s woke.

“At the end of the day, Jamila the lead character in our minds she’s reaching over to show them a part of our culture. It doesn’t dilute our culture,” said Jones. ” And I love that we can take stepping and evolve that into issues of race and culture.”

Step Sisters begins streaming on Netflix January 20th.

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