Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Blood, Diamonds, Hip Hop Doco to Air on VH1 Feb. 22

VH1's documentary Bling'd: Blood, Diamonds, and Hip Hop, premiers February 22, 2007 at 8 p.m. eastern and pacific times.

The new documentary under VH1's Rock Docs franchise is expected to examine the diamond trade in Sierra Leone as well as the "diamond-obsessed hip-hop community" the producers claim may have "unintentionally played a role in the country's war."

Mid-year 2006, VH1, Article 19 Films, Djali Rancher Productions, the United Nations Development Program, and hip-hop artists Paul Wall, Raekwon (of Wu Tang Clan,) and reggaeton king Tego Calderon, filmed the documentary on location in Sierra Leone.

From the United States, artists Kanye West, Jadakiss, Big Daddy Kane, Juelz Santana, Chris Aire, Mr. T, and others will weigh in on the evolution of hip hop bling, what it means to wear diamonds, and issues surrounding conflict diamonds and poverty in mining communities publicists stated in an announcement.


The documentary will be interspersed with testimonials, factoids and graphic images of those directly affected by the diamond trade. These artists are representative of the hip-hop community coming to terms with its obsession with bling and the discovery of the effect it has on the impoverished people in Sierra Leone.

West --who filmed his own music video on blood diamonds in July 2005, said, "It's just ironic that what made black people feel so empowered was completely demoralizing and destroying other black people."

In Sierra Leone, Wall, Raekwon, and Calderon reported to not only have heard first-hand accounts of the atrocities suffered during the country's war, but they witnessed how these citizens are trying to rise from the ruins of conflict and improve their living conditions publicists stated.

Viewers of the broadcast will meet Ishmael Beah, a New-York based former child soldier who went back home to Sierra Leone for the first time in 10 years to thank the people who helped rehabilitate him when he was just fifteen years old. The artists got a first hand look at the country's main source of diamond mines when they took a helicopter from Freetown to the Kono district in the northeastern section of the country and visited an alluvial and industrial mine as well as the villages that rely upon the diamond trade.

VSPOT, VH1's broadband channel (http://vspot.vh1.com) will feature exclusive scenes and commentary not in the on-air version. For more information on "Bling'd: Blood, Diamonds and Hip Hop," visit http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/vh1_rock_docs/series.jhtml.

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