Brooklyn Babylon

Brooklyn Babylon is a 2001 film directed by Marc Levin, and a modern retelling of the Song of Solomon, set against the backdrop of the Crown Heights riot, starring Black Thought of The Roots.

Brooklyn Babylon
Brooklyn Babylon poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byMarc Levin
Written byMarc Levin, Bonz Malone
Produced byHenri M. Kessler
StarringTariq Trotter, Sara Goberman, David Vadim
CinematographyMark Benjamin
Edited byEmir Lewis
Distributed byArtisan Entertainment, Studio Canal, Crosstown Releasing
Release date
  • August 17, 2001 (2001-08-17) (USA)
Running time
89 minutes

Plot summaryEdit

In Brooklyn's Crown Heights, where West Indian Rastafarians and other Blacks live next door to the Jewish Chabad community, ethnic tensions are high. After a minor car crash, the headstrong Judah and other Jewish men who patrol the neighborhood as vigilantes confront Scratch, a mouthy hustler. Passengers in the cars make eye contact: Sol, a hip-hop musician, songwriter, and artist (Scratch's friend), and Sara, who is betrothed to Judah but wants to go to college and be on her own. Over the next few days, while Scratch and Judah's conflict escalates in violence, Sara and Sol connect in ways that echo Sheba and Solomon.[1]


Brooklyn Babylon was the second-made of Levin's late nineties hip-hop trilogy, which began with Slam, a searing prison drama starring Saul Williams, Sonja Sohn and Bonz Malone. The third installment was 2000's Whiteboyz, a black comedy about white farm kids in Iowa who want to be black rappers, and starred Danny Hoch, Dash Mihok, Mark Webber and Piper Perabo.


Roots members Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, James "Kamal" Gray, Leonard "Hub" Hubbard and Kyle "Scratch" Jones played other members of The Lions, and Roots beatbox artist Rahzel served as the film's narrator.


The film was entered in the Slamdance Film Festival, Valenciennes Film Festival, and Agen American Indie Film Festival. Marc Levin was nominated for the Grand Special Prize at the Deauville Film Festival.


Brooklyn Babylon received mixed reviews by critics, earning a 50% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes[2] and a score of 26 on Metacritic.[3]


  1. ^ Staff (2004). The Scarecrow Movie Guide. Seattle: Sasquatch Books. p. 157. ISBN 1570614156.
  2. ^ "Brooklyn Babylon Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-11-11.
  3. ^ "Brooklyn Babylon): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-11-11.

External linksEdit