November 15 is the birthday of Wu Tang Clan founding-member Ol’ Dirty Bastard. The legendary Wu-tang rapper died 9 years ago on November 13, just two days before his 36th birthday. To honor him, NuHo Film Festival threw a birthday memorial for ODB at the historic Brooklyn Academy in Brooklyn, NY. There, they planned to showcase a biopic documentary about his life titled Dirty: Platinum Edition, which was filmed by ODB’s cousin, Stephon Turner (also known as Raison Allah). Originally, the plan was to meet Taniqua Jones, daughter of ODB, with her fiancé at the showcase, enjoy a beautiful evening, remember the legacy of ODB and do a quick interview about what Taniqua thought of the film. However, the event turned from a celebration of a legend to utter chaos as arguments and even fights broke out by the end of the night.
As fans and family flocked to the BAM theaters, things took a turn for the worse when a cease and desist order prevented the screening from going ahead, which Taniqua elaborated on after the event. “They [NuHo Film Festival] didn’t want to work with us,” Taniqua told XXL. “Today they said they can’t show the film because their was a cease and desist sent out…This is nothing new, they been had this information, but they still went forward. So I guess they decided let’s wait to the last minute, but there probably was an injunction. I guess he probably felt if I showed this, I’ll probably be sued. That’s why I guess it stopped…if we all worked together it could of settled and it could have been shown.”
It was clear something was wrong when instead of showing the film, NuHo began with the post-screening Q&A session with Wu-Tang Clan’s road manager, Papa Wu and Cappadonna, while Sister Asia called in via Skype. It was originally billed that Wu members Masta Killa and U-God were supposed to attend; however, nether of them showed up and Cappadonna expressed his displeasure. As the trio shared their thoughts and stories, it became apparent that something was wrong. Nearly two and a half hours later, Taniqua Jones, along with ODB’s sister, niece, and cousin were called on stage to share their favorite memory of Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
After NuHo managing partner Chris Kanik made numerous unsuccessful attempts to connect to RZA via Skype, the crowd began to get restless, and some started to leave. Word spread that the film wasn’t going to show, but Papa Wu was not having that as he demanded the movie be played in honor of ODB. Suddenly, the movie came on and everything seemed to be heading back to normal. Then RZA Skyped in. The documentary was paused three minutes into the film and RZA announced that the Wu-Tang Clan album was happening, but he’s waiting for verses from Raekwon. “That’s something we working on right now,” he told the audience “A lot of brothers came to the table to represent–Masta Killa, Cappadonna, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, all the brothers. We’re just waiting for Raekwon to add some verses to it. It’s coming together real well. I’m feeling really inspired with what we doing.”
At the time, RZA thought that everyone had seen the film. When Kanik finally explained to RZA that a cease and desist order had stopped the film from being shown, RZA asked for details. Kanik then mentioned “the ex-wife,” referring to ODB’s widow Icelene Jones as the issue. As the auditorium emptied out, anger over the event began to boil over as Papa Wu was seen yelling at the moderator, while a fight broke out with two audience members outside the cinema.
After the event, at Berlyn, Ms. Jones explained her disappointment with the evening. “It’s just bad because they making the estate look like we’re mean,” she said. “But its not like that. We just want respect and everybody to come and know that this is who you work with and that’s it. But you have people out there who just want to do the opposite way. I don’t know, it don’t make no sense to me because you’re just going to be shut down or sued.”
XXL was in attendance with ODB’s family members. Check back on Monday, November 18, for the full story.