C. Dolores Tucker was known most of her life as a civil rights activist and feminist who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So how did she become, in her 60s, perhaps the most-hated woman in hip-hop, humiliated by the likes of Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight? That question is the subject of our new “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or right here:
Every week on “Shoot This Now,” we talk about stories that should be made into movies. We think a C. Delores Tucker movie could be the flip side of “Straight Outta Compton” — a movie about the rise of gangsta rap from the perspective of an African-American woman who only seems to see the downside.
Our guest this week on “Shoot This Now” is Eric Steuer, who, like me, grew up with hip-hop and believed the 1990s hype that Tucker was a killjoy who wanted to silence rappers’ voices and ruin music we loved. We knew her by lines like this one from Tupac: “Delores Tucker you’s a mother—er/Instead of trying to help a n—a you destroy a brother.”
She suffered similar critiques and outright insults from artists ranging from Jay-Z to KRS-One to Eminem. To many hip-hop fans, she was better known as the butt of emcees’ one-liners than for marching arm-in-arm with King in Selma.
But with two decades of hindsight, Eric and I look back this week to ask: What if she had a point? Was there a middle ground in which she could have supported the positive side of hip-hop — the political expression, the musical genius — while convincing artists to drop, for example, misogynistic lyrics?
We don’t agree with many of the things she did — but we think, like Roy Cohn, Dick Cheney, and countless others whose lives have become films, she has a compelling story whether you love or disdain her.
Eric would focus on the time she tried to turn Death Row Records founder Suge Knight into an ally — but he instead proved himself a go-for-the-kneecaps enemy. We talk about it on the podcast.
We also talk about an A-list Hollywood director who Eric thinks would be perfect to direct the film. One hint: She used to be a great emcee herself, part of a legendary L.A. underground crew that still informs and inspires great hip-hop today.
C. Delores Tucker died in 2005, at age 78. Whatever you think of her, she deserves a movie.
Check out Eric’s new song here. It’s about Los Angeles and it’s infectious as hell.