“‘Tragedy: The Story of Queensbridge’ covers the hip-hop scene that stems from a Queens housing project. Directed by Booker Sim, of Williamsburg, and produced by Malcolm Heard, of Fort Greene, the film scans the life and times of rap artist Tragedy (aka Percy Chapman) and a host of other rappers. It’s a gritty film, brimming with life, loyalty and machismo.
The first question I had to ask Sim and Heard was how two white Canadian boys (the filmmakers are childhood friends, moved to Brooklyn together and lived in the same house in Fort Greene until it burned down) get to know and gain the trust of these ‘up from the street’ kids?
We came to New York to work with them, to use their music on a documentary we made about Liberia,” Sim told GO Brooklyn. At the same time they were looking for a way to use hip-hop to examine geopolitics.
‘We had to earn their trust, naturally,’ said Sim. Once that was accomplished, they had to beg favors and borrow to make the film – the usual route of truly independent filmmakers.”