Tougher Than Leather
Tougher than Leather is one of
the crudest but most astonishing movies to come from the independent black
filmmaking scene in
An extension of the songs and image of the group Run DMC, Tougher than Leather is, like a lot of rap music, a streetwise, survival-fantasy about being an all-powerful gangster.
There is the slightest vestige of a socially respectable message
papered over the top of this lawless fantasy: drugs are bad; family is good;
black and white
But, far more deeply felt than even the would-be gangster shenanigans, and perfectly transparent at the surface level of the film although never explicitly articulated, is its real wish-fulfilment agenda: the perfectly childlike, vengeful desire of these black boys to smash in white faces, blow out white brains, lay white chicks, and trash white property.
Their excited war cry is hard to forget: "That's how it should be when you fuck with Run DMC!"
© Adrian Martin December 1993