Beat Street

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Beat Street is a 1984 drama film, following Wild Style in featuring New York City hip hop culture of the early 1980s; breakdancing, DJing, and graffiti. Set in the South Bronx, the film follows the lives of a pair of brothers and their group of friends, all of whom are devoted to various elements of early hip-hop culture. Kenny Kirkland (Guy Davis) is a budding disc jockey and MC, and his younger brother Lee (Robert Taylor) is a hardcore b-boy who dances with Beat Street Breakers (the New York City Breakers). Kenny's best friends are Ramon (Jon Chardiet), a graffiti artist known by his tag, "Ramo", and Chollie (Leon W. Grant), his self-styled manager/promoter. The film begins with the main characters preparing for a house party set in an abandoned apartment building, where Kenny is the featured DJ. An uninvited Lee and his break-dancing friends crash the party, and nearly get tangled into a battle with a rival troupe, the Bronx Rockers (the Rock Steady Crew). The battle of mostly words is broken up by Henri (Dean Elliot), a squatter who lives in the building and is befriended by Kenny, Chollie, Ramon, and Luis (Franc Reyes). Kenny has dreams of performing in New York City's top nightclubs. No club is bigger than the Roxy, and on one visit he crosses paths with Tracy Carlson (Rae Dawn Chong), a collegiate music student and composer. A breakdance battle between the Breakers and Rock Steady ensues, and Tracy admires Lee's performance. She then invites him to audition for a television show focusing on dancing. Lee, Kenny, and their crew arrive during a dance rehearsal, and Lee gives his performance only to find out he won't be on television. Protecting his brother's interests, Kenny rips into Tracy for leading Lee on; Ramon steals a videotape of Lee's dance as the crew walk out. A remorseful Tracy then shows up at the Kirkland home to apologize. Lee was not home but Kenny was, working on a mix tape. Tracy clarifies her story, saying that she did not promise to Lee that he was going to be on the TV show. She then takes an interest in Kenny's mixing and the two find common ground. Kenny and Tracy then head into the subway, where they meet up with Lee, Ramon, and Luis spray painting an abandoned station platform. They pack up and leave when they hear noises, thinking it may be the police; it turned out to be a rogue graffiti artist known as "Spit", who defaces Ramo's work (and the work of other artists) by spraying his tag over it. As the group take the train back uptown, Kenny and Tracy break away and spend the rest of the evening together, striking up a romance while walking and talking. Chollie talks Kenny into a guest spot at the Burning Spear, a club run by DJ Kool Herc. Kenny not only spins but presents a special Christmas-themed skit performed by the Treacherous Three, Doug E. Fresh, and the Magnificent Force. The crowd's positive reaction convinces Kool Herc to invite Kenny back. But both Kenny and Chollie see the regular gig as a stepping stone to their bigger goal. They return to the Roxy, where auditions are being held for new talent. Chollie convinces Kenny to let him do the talking, and waits for the auditions to end before he succeeds in getting the talent scout to check out Kenny at the Burning Spear. The scout keeps his word, and is impressed enough that he offers Kenny a performance on New Year's Eve. Tracy offers to help Kenny out by allowing him to work on a computer keyboard system at her studio. But Kenny accidentally pressed a wrong button and deleted his work. A stubborn Kenny then leaves the studio, saying he had enough material for New Year's Eve. Meanwhile, Ramon is feeling pressure from two sources. His father Domingo (Shawn Elliot), who despises his graffiti, wants him to find honest work, while his girlfriend Carmen (Saundra Santiago), who's also the mother of his son, longs for them to be together as a family. Ramon eventually gets a job in a hardware store, and he then takes Carmen and...
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