Tokyo, Japan – Long before Black Panther became a box office behemoth, Chuck D was a fan of the revolutionary comic book. So, when Marvel Studio wanted to use two Public Enemy posters in the movie, the legendary frontman was all about it.
At the beginning of the film, director and Oakland native Ryan Coolger takes viewers to the blacktop of his hometown circa 1992 — also the breeding ground of the Black Panther Party.
While in N’Jobu’s apartment (played by Sterling K. Brown), a Public Enemy Fear Of A Black Planet poster can be seen hanging on the wall.
Later in the movie, another Public Enemy poster pops up, only this time it’s for the Long Island group’s seminal album, 1988’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.
“The photographer who shot Yo! Bum Rush The Show and It Takes A Nation Of Millions is Glen E. Friedman,” Chuck explains to HipHopDX. “Glen shot Ice-T, Rob Base, Run-DMC and then Glen shot us. We shot the jail shot at a precinct in midtown Manhattan not too far from Madison Square Garden. We got in there and shot it.”
“Glen was the one who probably had to approve it and then we all had to,” he continues. “I was a big Black Panther fan — not only as Black Panthers but the comic book created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in ’68. It was a no brainer. Marvel doesn’t make any mistakes. It was a phenomenon to know the Black Panther movie was coming before everyone knew it was a phenomenon because I grew up with it.”
Once Chuck actually saw the film, it was another story.
“To see it in the movie twice, it was prideful, yes,” he admits. “It felt good. I knew it was going to happen but to see it happen was definitely prideful. A lot of people didn’t see the first one. That photo shoot was in Birmingham, U.K. our second year and that’s right before It Takes A Nation came out.”
Even with all of Public Enemy’s accolades, Chuck knows there’s still work that needs to be done. He notes seeing JAY-Z and Sean “Diddy” Combs having a battle on Twitter about who’s going to be #1 on Forbes’ 2018 List Of Hip Hop’s Wealthiest Artists. He believes that does nothing for Hip Hop as a whole.
“As a structured organization, I wish the money was distributed to more people better,” he says. “To see JAY-Z and Puffy have a playful argument about who’s going to be the top of Forbes, I look at my peer group and they’re just trying to get by. Look at a guy like Masta Ace who’s just trying to continue his art and feed his family, I just wish the distribution is a little less painful.
“It could be a lot more fair across the board. It’s the lack of administration. I was talking to [DJ] Premier, I said, ‘I do so much of this and it’s not based on money.’ Yeah, I go out with Prophets Of Rage and our job is do our thing but everything else I do is painfully for free. JAY-Z and Puffy arguing about who has most money — something’s wrong with that. How many jobs have you created? Who are you paying and what are you doing for it? It all came out from the sacrifices we made for you.”