Film Review: Dawn Raid

Danny "Brotha D" Leaosavai'I and Andy Murnane

When the subject of hip hop and rap music comes up, it’s natural to think of America. That is where it all began and that’s where the money has always been. The biggest labels, the biggest artists. Indeed, it’s these sounds which get pumped into homes around the world. However, there are so many rich and vibrant urban cultures which reflect the societies within which they operate. In reality, it’s rare these voices are heard outside of their domestic audiences.

At the end of the last century, something was bubbling in the deprived and multi-ethnic area of South Auckland in New Zealand. A chance meeting at business school led to Danny “Brotha D” Leaosavai’I and Andy Murnane bonding over a shared love of hip hop and rap music. Subsequently going on to found Dawn Raid Entertainment. They took the negative stereotypes about the area and channelled them into a bootleg t-shirt business; quickly branching out into other areas, but it all came back to the beats. Dawn Raid tells their story.

Dawn Raid is a rags to riches, and back again, story with a twist. It ticks every box you’d expect from a good music documentary but benefits from investing time on the social and environmental impact of Dawn Raid Entertainment. Sure, the music is the big selling point but Oscar Kightley’s film also highlights the important role it played within the community. Making Dawn Raid a fascinating and vibrant portrait of friendship, fellowship and determination.

Dawn Raid is released on digital platforms in the US on 11 January.

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