Bling: A Planet Rock

Director: Raquel Cepeda
Country: Sierra Leone and USA
Year: 2007
Running Time: 85 min.
Language: English and Krio

In Bling, three hip-hop celebrities, Raekwon, Paul Wall and reggaetun king Tego Calderon, visit the capital of Freetown to survey the community as a whole. These hip-hop superstars meet the hip-hop community, refugees and former child soldiers living in Sierra Leone. They hear first-hand accounts of the atrocities suffered at the hands of the rebels that included rape, torture and amputation. Capturing hip-hop’s reaction to the human violations, this film shows the complexities that still exist in Sierra Leone and bring global awareness via the dominant voice of youth all over the world of hip-hop.

About the Director

Raquel Cepeda

raqcepBiography: Born in Harlem to Dominican parents, writer and documentary filmmaker Raquel Cepeda directed and produced the NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity In Communications) Vision nominated film Bling: A Planet Rock, a feature length documentary about American hip-hop culture’s obsession with diamonds and all of its social trappings, particularly how the infatuation with “blinging” became intertwined in Sierra Leone’s decade long conflict, co-produced with the VH1/MTV Networks and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For almost two decades, Cepeda’s writings have been anthologized and her byline has been featured in media outlets including People, the Associated Press, The Village Voice, MTV News,, and many other publications. She’s contributed to WNYC, CNN and CNN’s Inside the Middle East as a freelance reporter. Cepeda edited the critically acclaimed anthology And It Don’t Stop: The Best Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years, winner of the PEN/Beyond Margins and Latino Book Award. As the former editor in chief of Russell Simmons’ Oneworld, Cepeda was responsible for the magazine’s overhaul in September 2001, winning a Folio Award for best re-design and receiving accolades for her global take on urban culture. Cepeda sits on the board of City Lore and the Style Wars Restoration Project. She lives in New York City.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Bling: A Planet Rock (2007).

Bling: A Planet Rock (2007).