Last night, VH1 premiered The Tanning Of America
, the first episode of a four-part series exploring America's social evolution through Black entertainment. Based on longtime record executive and manager Steve Stoute's book of the same name, the documentary travels through the early elements of entertainment leading up to today's hip-hop and its extreme impact on American culture.
WIth Nas, Diddy, and Russell Simmons all appearing in the premiere episode along with Rev. Al Sharpton, Corey Booker, and Steve Stoute, The Tanning Of America
not only covers primal aspects of hip-hop but connects the genre to the U.S.' political stances, commending hip-hop for playing huge role in the election of the first black president. Overall, the documentary crafts an interesting concept, ultimately unveiling that hip-hop has unknowingly united a nation that was for so long separated along racial boundaries. Chronicling all the way from the 1950s, The Tanning Of America
essentially tells the story of how hip-hop has changed the world.XXL
spoke with the directors of The Tanning Of America
, Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman—the two minds behind the influential 2006 crime documentary Cocaine Cowboys
—who not only shared "tanning" experiences of their own but also gave grave explanation of how the documentary came together as a whole. —Miranda Johnson (@Randa_Writes)