Whether you were born and raised in New York, or you arrived with nothing but a dollar and some dreams, the city will humble you with a quickness. It’s a town that demands wits, ingenuity and fearlessness; no matter what industry you’re tying to break into. In order to make it here, you have to be a doer and a hustler, or else, opportunities will simply pass you by. I’ve lived in NYC for seven years now, and the hustle mentality is something I’m still learning every day.
VH1’s latest original film, “The Breaks,” is a movie that suggests that the grind in this town is nothing new. It’s a story about passion and the things that can break you before you even get started.
Set in the summer of 1990, Seith Mann’s “The Breaks” follows three 20-somethings – Nikki Jones, David Aaron and DeeVee – who are all scrambling after their dreams, desperate to reach them by any means necessary. The city can be a lot to handle today, but back then, the crime-riddled streets were even grittier. Mann brilliantly captures the grey caste, graffiti, chunky gold, and most importantly, the music of the era.
Inspired by journalist Dan Charnas’ novel on hip-hop business, entitled “The Big Payback,” we meet Nikki Jones (played by Afton Williamson), a recent grad, who turns down a scholarship to Harvard Law School in order to hustle her way into a internship at Fouray Entertainment, a big shot entertainment company. Williamson’s performance as Nikki is brilliant, and, quite frankly, she carried much of the film on her shoulders. Despite the naysayers and the sexism that continually permeates the hip-hop music business, Nikki’s quick thinking and sharp tongue keep the men—and women—around her in check. Some of the best lines in the film spill out of her mouth, instantly inciting laughter from the audience. And yet, the most brilliant thing about her character is the fact that you never quite know who she is, or if you even like her by the end of the film.
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