Title: Planet Rock Played by: John Boyega Directed by: Matthew Vaugn
Afrika Bambaataa's life is much like the origin story of a Marvel superhero. Born and raised in the infamous Bronx River projects, Bambaataa (whose real name is Kevin Donovan) had leadership in his blood. Both his mother and uncle were activists in the Black Liberation Movement of the late '60s, and that proactive spirit carried over to him. But in the '70s, the youth had chosen another path toward cleaning up their communities. Donovan joined the Black Spades, a gang that orginated in the Soundview section of The Bronx, and quickly rose up the ranks to become a division warlord. It wasn't until Donovan traveled to Africa after winning an essay contest that he had a life-altering epiphany. He made it his mission to create a community back home, free of the violence that plauged the borough, and he changed his name to Afrika Bambaataa Aasim, after an early 20th century Zulu chief. When Bambaataa came back to The Bronx, he formed the Universal Zulu Nation with the intention of using hip-hop as a tool to save inner city kids from gang warfare.
Bambaataa was a born leader who misuses his potential until a trip to the Motherland solidifies his purpose in life. He used hip-hop to bring forth positive change in his community, and in turn, inspired millions of people worldwide. If that's not the story of a superhero, I don't know what is. John Boyega is the perfect young actor to play Bambaataa. He's shown he can play a reluctant hero who's rough around the edges with his breakout role in 2012's Attack The Block, and I'm sure his next big role in next year's Star Wars: Episode VII won't disapoint either.