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The Showtime network has revealed its February premieres, and, in addition to Spike Lee's new Michael Jackson documentary which examines Jackson’s career as he evolves from the lead singer of the Jackson 5 to a solo artist (which premieres at the ongoing Sundance Film Festival), is another feature-length documentary, "In My Father’s House," from Emmy-Nominated Filmmakers Ricki Stern & Annie Sundberg.
Music figures only tangentially in Sweet Micky for President, about The Fugees’ Pras getting into behind-the-scenes politics back in Haiti, and In My Father’s House, which has Chicago rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith looking up the father he hasn’t seen in two decades.
Can you describe your life in just three songs? We start off with three songs by someone well known in Chicago, Che 'Rhymefest' Smith. He shares three songs that define who he is.
The first reason you should see “In My Father’s House” is because in hip-hop, nobody tells the whole truth. It’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It’s not something designed just to be like, ‘Look, Chicago, it’s all about guns! We’re Chiraq, it’s all about guns!’ Our story is all about overcoming the haters. This film is real hip-hop because it exposes the frauds and even the artists. That’s one reason.
This documentary goes beyond gender, race, social status, and family structure. Rhymefest, Donnie and Brian allow you to see them at their most venerable and what would seem embarrassing moments in their journey to not only getting to know each other but themselves.
The hip-hop singer and songwriter Che "Rhymefest" Smith met Kanye West when they were budding young rappers in the Chicago scene. "He came up to me and was like, 'Yo, you're one of the top rappers in the city,'" Smith says in this clip from the new documentary In My Father's House. "The one thing you're missing is tracks; you need beats and I got beats." A friendship born out of competition emerged, and Smith and West went on to co-write "Jesus Walks." In My Father's House, in theaters now, tells the story of Smith's career, its rise and fall, and his quest to reconcile with his traumatic past.
The documentary works on the level of honesty and realism. Che and Brian speak candidly about their faults and struggles and its uplifting to see them reconcile and strive for a healthy relationship, it also helps that everyone in the film is likable.
“Che’s mission to lift his father up. . .intimately demonstrates [how] health care, education and supportive housing. . .help a motivated man gain confidence and his life.” – Mora Lee Mandel, Film Foward