Deadly Art of Survival

It was while prowling around the lower portion of Manhattan than no-wave filmmaker Charlie Ahearn was approached by a group of young black kids curious about what he was doing with a movie camera. The idea that just some dude could borrow a camera and decide to make a movie without the apparatus or blessing of mainstream movie making was wild, and the kids thought it was awesome. They also thought he should make a movie about them and the kungfu school they attended, called Deadly Art of Survival. Just as punk and hip hop had a cultural exchange going early in their respective lifecycles, there had been, in the 1970s, an explosion of interest in Asian culture in the urban black community. Specifically, in kungfu films and the martial arts. Just as its easy to see what drew punk and hip hop together, so too is it pretty easy to understand what it was about kungfu films that young black men (mostly men) found exciting and empowering.

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