Louis Theroux’s new documentary to explore US rap and hip-hop

The one-off film will form part of new BBC series Forbidden America

Louis Theroux is set to explore the world of US rap and hip-hop as part of a new three-part documentary series.

The BBC Two series, titled Forbidden America, will explore the impact of the internet and social media on some of the most controversial corners of American entertainment in a trilogy of one-hour films.

One episode will see the filmmaker immerse himself in the rap and hip-hop scenes in the southern states, notably Florida, as stakes are raised in the world of constant social media connectivity.

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“Many artists become successful through self-promotion online, looking at ways to connect with fans – from feuding online, opening up about their anxieties and fears, and live-streaming their sometimes chaotic lifestyles,” the description adds. “Louis will meet people at different stages of their quest to become successful and followed, from those who have risen fast to those who have fallen hard.”

Louis Theroux
Louis Theroux

The other two films will look at the far-right and the porn industry as it grapples with its own Me Too moment.

“The world has gone through massive changes in the last few years, in particular from the effects of social media,” Theroux said. “This new series looks at the way those changes have affected people in America who are in different ways involved in dangerous, extreme, or morally questionable lifestyles.

“Far-right groups that have found new influence through gaming and streaming services. Porn performers who have seen power shift to them as they’ve embraced creator-controlled apps and called out alleged predators in the industry. And in the rap world young men with big dreams caught up in feuds and high-risk behaviour in the click-driven world of social media.

Louis Theroux – Credit: Daniel Zuchnik/Getty

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“These three documentaries were tough to make,” he added. “They required delicate access conversations. They feature scenes and confrontations that are shocking and upsetting. But they are also powerful depictions of a world that has become strange in ways we could never have imagined just 10 years ago.

“They show the dangers of the technotopia we all now inhabit, where extremist content can be piped directly into the phones and laptops of millions of children. But they also illustrate some of the positive opportunities the new world has created by disrupting old hierarchies of power.

“I’m very proud of all three programmes and hope viewers will find them as thought provoking to watch as I did making them.”

Theroux recently aired documentary Shooting Joe Exotic, which looks back on the titular controversial figure in the wake of Netflix’s Tiger King as well as his own interview with Exotic 10 years ago.

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