“They’re Trying To Kill Us” documentary explores diet, disease and racism through the lens of hip hop
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From Cowspiracy
November 2021

Why is that African Americans are 2X more likely to die of diabetes than white Americans? Why are Black and Indigenous People of Color dying from Covid at 3X that of white Americans? Why are the rates of chronic disease rapid in communities of color? These are the questions addressed in They’re Trying To Kill Us.

They're Trying to Kill Us
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Why is that African Americans are 2X more likely to die of diabetes than white Americans? Why are Black and Indigenous People of Color dying from Covid at 3X that of white Americans? Why are the rates of chronic disease rapid in communities of color? These are the questions, and more, that directors John Lewis and Keegan Kuhn set out to answer in their new film They’re Trying To Kill Us.

Co-directors John Lewis and Keegan Kuhn aren’t known for biting their tongues when it comes to controversy and with their new film titled They’re Trying To Kill Us, nothing has changed.

Lewis, known widely by his social media handle “Badass Vegan” is notorious for stoking conversations and debate with his often sarcastic and critical memes on current issues. With close to 300K followers and being a sought-after public speaker, John is used to saying what’s on his mind and audiences have responded to his fresh and unfiltered take on the world.

Co-director, Keegan Kuhn, is best known as the director behind the camera for the award-wining and hugely debated films Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (executive produced for Netflix by Leonardo DiCaprio) and What The Health, executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix (also available on Netflix).

Lewis and Kuhn teamed up to tell an untold story of the intersections of diet, disease, poverty, institutionalized racism, food deserts, government corruption and collusion with industries.

The film follows John, from his upbringing in Ferguson, Missouri as he crisscrosses the country seeking answers from experts on why Americans of Color are getting sick and dying from chronic diseases at often twice the rate of European Americans.

The film is a fast paced investigative journey that utilize the cultural influence and impact of notables such as executive producers Chris Paul (NBA All-Star) and Billie Eilish (Grammy winning artist) with hip hop artists from legendary groups Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy, Dead Prez, The Lox, St. Lunatics and more.

When asked why they decided to use Hip Hop to tell this story, Lewis responded: “Hip Hop is hands down one of the most influential art forms in modern history. What Hip Hop artists say, wear, drive, eat and drink influences what their millions of fans do in their own lives. Having cultural reporters, aka masters of ceremony, aka rappers, speak about their own experiences covered in the film hits with weight few others could possibly carry”.

The film not only features prominent Hip Hop and R&B artists, such as MYA and Ne-Yo, but stylistically mirrors rap music videos with vivid color schemes and ultrafast paced editing, making for an entirely original vision for a feature documentary.

“We wanted to create a film that didn’t look or sound like anything you had ever experienced before. We shot with vintage anamorphic lenses and went with dramatic and wild colors, we cut the film faster than most TikTok videos and commissioned an original score that plays through the entirety of the film.” Said Kuhn regarding the unique look and feel of this feature length documentary. The film not only breaks the mold with its artistic choices, but also with its completely unheard of release.

Available November 11th, 2021 starting at 11am EST, They’re Trying To Kill Us will be exclusively available on the film’s website www.theyretryingtokillus.com A self released documentary is nothing new, but what is new, and down right revolutionary, is that the filmmakers are doing a cooperative release of the film, giving participants in the documentary, supporters and select influencers their own unique and trackable URL to the film’s purchase page and splitting the profits 50/50. On the filmmakers side, they are giving their first $1,000,000 dollars raised to charity!

“When we started making this film we wanted to raise awareness of these issues, but we also wanted to give back. None of the people in the film were paid to be part of it, they all generously gave up their time to be interviewed and to utilize their platform to bring greater awareness to these issues. When we thought about the marketability of this film, we saw that it could be huge and sadly there is a long history of media companies exploiting black artists and we didn’t want to be part of that, so we decided we would split any profits the film made with the artists and friends who generated the sales themselves.” Lewis said.

When asked why the filmmakers were giving one million dollars to charity, Kuhn responded: “We feel that this film has the potential to shift culture and we want to make sure that those in the greatest need get lifted up first. Over the last two years we have seen a lot of people struggling in particular due to covid. People have dug deep and helped each other, mutual aid is a real and viable option and we want to be part of that. We believe that people will support this film for the education and entrainment they will get from it, but we also believe that people with support it to support the cause.”

This cooperative and charitable film release is the brainchild of John Lewis, who happens to have a masters in business and is a serial entrepreneur.

“Look, the film and music industry is so messed up and when we looked at the offers we were getting for this film and the amount of control we had to give up for a mainstream outlet we thought “things need to change, but if not us, then who? If not now, then when?” Filmmakers and musicians are regularly taken advantage of by media platforms and we don’t want to be part of perpetuating that, so I thought “lets do something different.” Said Lewis about the release strategy.

The 50% split cooperative release will only be for one week November 11th-17th, 2021, but aim is to give partners the best chance at raising the largest amount right off the bat.

The implications of this release strategy are far reaching when looking at the role and impact of social media.

Mega stars like Will Smith or Kevin Hart, who have enough to privately fund their own films, could cooperatively release their own productions and capitalize on their celebrity friends and colleagues social media for promotion with profit sharing, removing the studios and streaming platforms from the equation entirely.

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