Despite 17 uses of the word "f*ck", the MPAA's Ratings Review Board gave a PG-13 rating to ThinkFilm's documentary The Hip Hop Project after its R rating was appealed by director Matt Ruskin and the film's rapper subject, Chris "Kazi" Rolle.
The film, executive produced by Bruce Willis and Queen Latifah, follows the once-homeless rapper as he helps a group of poor New York teens deal with their frustrations by making a hip-hop album. The Hip Hop Project follows their four-year journey, including studio time funded by Willis and producer Russell Simmons.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, six of the panel's eight members agreed to change the rating, which was issued for the film's language. "We decided to appeal the R rating to allow teenagers access to see this film because they are the ones who need it most," said Rolle, founder of the offscreen Hip Hop Project. "After years of working with teens, I know you have to reach them when they are young. Just as I didn't have a parent to take me to the movies when I was a teenager, many of the young people who would benefit most from this film would have been denied access if the R rating stood."
Ruskin told the board, "This motion picture is a call to end the destructive forces of violence, misogyny and criminality that dominate the music our children are listening to."