Blacksun is a young rapper living in Cité Soleil, Haiti – one of the largest slums in the Western Hemisphere.
“Blacksun means ‘Man from Cite Soleil.’ … and I represent all the men living here.”
Despite his talent and passion, he knows his chance of making it out of the slum and into the spotlight are slim. In this short documentary, Blacksun reflects on life in his community, the loss of his friends to the local gangs and how he hopes to lead a new generation of young rappers who’s music will help promote a non-violent path forward for young men.
Emic Films is the creative team behind this mini-doc about the Haitian musician. A full-service video production and strategy company, Kohl Threlkeld and Jon Bougher answered a few of my questions about Blacksun.
Q: Did you travel to Haiti to film Blacksun? Why were you in Haiti? We had been living in Haiti for a couple years before we decided to make the film. We were both teaching film/video in the country, and then started freelancing together.
Q: How did you meet Blacksun? Kohl met him while serving as a DP on a feature doc in Cité Soleil. That film was a more kaleidoscopic look at the community, but he felt like Blacksun was different in his outlook than other young men he met.
Q: For how many days did you film with him? We filmed for about a week, but we shot mostly in the late afternoon, because the mid-day sun in Haiti is brutal. We really wanted a reflective look, so we tried to take advantage of the sunset coming in from over the ocean.
Q: What’s the missing story/untold in Haiti? Haiti is always a problem story, or a hope story. Black or white. Saved or damned. This is especially true in Cité Soleil, which has long been seen as one of “the most dangerous places in the world.” We wanted to slow things down, and reflect on Cité Soleil as a community alive. Blacksun’s outlook is very thoughtful and reflective, and we thought that might be a good lens to take an insider’s look.
Q: Blacksun seems to have no rose colored glasses. Pretty aware of the limitations of his condition. What do you think drives him to continue to rap, make music, be creative? I think he identifies with the messages in rap, which have a lot of carry-over into his life – dealing with violence, bravado, social issues. He is also part of a community of young men that use rap as one way to relate to each other, which I think reinforces his identity.
- Producer/Director of Photography: Kohl Threlkeld
- Producer/Editor: Jon Bougher
- Composter: Rob Blazey
- Associate Producer: Christian Aramy
Soundtrack: Bese Zam Yo (Put Down Your Guns)
- Lyrics: Blacksun
- Produced By: Dimifrantz Afriani and Steeve Valcourt
- Franckel Casseus
- Joel Denizot
- Zach Niles
- Steeve Valcourt