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Zebrahead This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   This movie is rated R. Those under 17 must be accompanied by an adult.

Following in the tradition of "Boyz 'n' the Hood," "New Jack City," "Jungle Fever," and other movies dealing with racism, comes "Zebrahead," perhaps the most realistic of them all.

We meet Zack, a white boy living in urban Detroit. His best friend is Dee, a black teen. All goes well until Dee's cousin, Nikki from East New York, moves to Detroit with her mother. Zack meets Nikki, and a relationship begins.

Not everyone at Frank Cody High agrees with this arrangement. Calvin "Nut" McCrea is offended. He likes Nikki too, and is jealous of Zack. There is a confrontation among the trio, and someone gets hurt.

"Zebrahead" was first conceived by Anthony Drazan, who wanted to recreate a movie based on his experiences as a kid living on Long Island. Drazan wrote a script, and after meeting with several producers, including Oliver Stone (who agreed to be Executive Producer), set out for the streets of New York and New Jersey. With a video camera, he recorded over 60 hours of conversations between teens and their teachers.

Drazan's first assignment debuting as director was to search for raw talent hidden in the high schools. Casting the film's roles lasted almost three months in New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit. Michael Rapaport (Zack), N'Bush Wright (Nikki), DeShonn Castle (Dee), and Ron Johnson (Nut) are debuting as actors in this film.

And what movie in today's world would be complete without music? The filmmakers have gathered an impressive array of rap/jazz artists, supervised by MC Serch and Taj Mahal, two of the biggest names in the rap and blues industries, respectively. The soundtrack, under the Ruffhouse/Columbia Records label, is comprised of music by: MC Serch, Ex-Girlfriend, Nasty Nas, Boss, Forte, MC Breed, Kool Moe Dee, Portrait, AMG and the Goats.

"Zebrahead" is the kind of movie that teaches us about the grit of life in inner cities. We follow Zack and Nikki, two high school kids with ethnic and racial differences, but in love with each other. We see Nut living across the street from Nikki, provoked by Zack's friendliness toward Nikki. And we see Nikki's cousin, Dee, torn between two ways of life, the brotherly love of his black brothers versus that of his white brother. Zack and Nikki resent their friends' hostility and their parents' ignorance, but they still have the desire to be with each other.

"Zebrahead" comes to theaters nationwide on October 23rd. It is emotional, sentimental and insightful when looking at the lives of its characters. It is a movie not to be missed. n




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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