After the hip-hop blockbuster “Straight Outta Compton” made headlines this summer for erasing the women who made NWA possible, a new movie seeks to showcase female contributions to the musical genre.
Carlito Rodriguez and Malcolm Spellman, writers on Fox’s “Empire,” have been tapped to pen a Warner Bros. project about Sylvia Robinson, the singer, producer and record executive often referred to as the “Mother of Hip Hop.” She has also been cited as an inspiration for Cookie Lyon, Taraji P. Henson’s indomitable matriarch on “Empire.”
Robinson enjoyed a four-decade career that culminated in co-founding Sugarhill Records and releasing “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang and “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The script, however, will reportedly focus on the high-stakes race to release the first rap record in the late ’70s and will more resemble “American Hustle” than a standard musical biopic.
Producer Paula Wagner has secured the rights from Robinson’s estate. She commented, “[The film] is not only the story of female empowerment at a time when the world of music was male-dominated, but it’s also a story of the origin of hip-hop and how this woman’s determination, immense talent and savvy business sense fostered an entire musical movement.”