What About Eric ? – *(*)

Posted: December 30, 2015 in 2014, Documentary, Flanders, Musical, Social Drama, X1/2

Eric Kabongo is a West-Flemish/Congolese rapper. Not a successful one. They don’t play his tracks on the radio and they don’t show his videos on tv. Even his latest track from the soundtrack of Black, doesn’t get airplay. But it’s not that bad really. Click here to listen. Luckily there’s Facebook and youtube and flyers and concerts on local festivals and so on. And now a documentary that is shown in a lot of cultural houses (accompanied by a rap workshop given by the man himself).

He raps in French, swears in English and explains stuff in  West-Flemish. Sometimes all in one sequence. It’s cool.

Last year he allowed two young Flemish cineasts to make a documentary about his struggle to a) become a successful artist and b) to feel more comfortable being black in a predominant white society.

Even though the documentary doesn’t bore – Kabongo is quite a character and brutally honest – the end result is not all that rewarding. It’s refreshing to see how the young directors choose to film the story like a low budget indie flic, but it just doesn’t really feel right to provoke reactions just for the benefit of the movie.

Sure, there are a lot of stupid racists out there and sure racism is a common thing if you’re black in a predominantly white small town, but do you really have to go to the fake-posh social event of the year dressed like you are going to a roaring twenties party? Of course people will stare! Of course people will say stuff like ‘I thought carnival was over’. And yes, the likelihood of a drunk guy saying ‘go back to where you came from’ doesn’t come as a surprise. If three gay men would attend that event dressed like they just came back from a leather bar or a Rio samba school full of feathers, they’d also get noticed and they’d also get remarks. But they’d know they are provoking and they’d know how to take an insult. Luckily, the reaction of his friends and his self reflection to what happened at the event, are also shown. However, the whole horse race moment makes the documentary less credible.


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