Cracka Director Dale "Rage" Resteghini Breaks Down The Racially-Charged Series & The White Backlash
(AllHipHop Features) It is not often that the world stops and pays attention, but that is exactly what “Cracka” did. The looming show, which chronicles what happens when an extreme racist is thrust into a world where Black people are the owners of slaves and perpetuate the very brutality that historically was exacted upon those Africans. The creator of that show is director Dale “Rage” Resteghini. Rage has long tentacles in Hip-Hop as the director of more than 400 rap videos.
Resteghini is not running from the furor that has resulted from a 90-second teaser that premiered on AllHipHop. That video, albeit how short, shows a woman raped, a noose around a white neck, and also the flip of power. It is difficult to process the concept and the resulting feedback speaks to just that. Still, even death threats and outrage cannot prevent the Bostonian from his noble aim: educate his people. White people.
"Rage" talks to Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur about the controversy, the “white blindness”, history vs science fiction and what is next for “Cracka.”
AllHipHop: We debuted the trailer for "Cracka" on AllHipHop.com, and it went through the roof immediately. So I have to ask you before we get into all the detailed questions, what has been the feedback so far?
Dale Resteghini: It's been explosive. I created it to have people see racism through a new lens, as an artistic freedom choice as a filmmaker. And like any artist can write and produce whatever they want. It's a moment that I felt was needed. And, I've got a tremendous amount of support from the community. Most of the pushback has been mostly from white people. who suffer from their "white blindness." And I don't mean that negatively they just didn't get it. But for the most part, it's been phenomenal. And, and it was meant to spark conversation, which obviously has been taking place not just here in America, but all over the world.
AllHipHop: What have been some of the specifics on the pushbacks? What specifically are people saying?
Dale Resteghini: I'd be happy to send you some of my hate mail from mostly white people basically saying, it's inappropriate for me to show Black people in power. How dare I put white people on blast. It's all about their fear of seeing the balance of power shift in a movie, and something that I created, a portal to get into a new world using science fiction as a Trojan horse. Just like any other sci-fi show out there. But obviously, this is a trigger for people who have some deep-rooted fear and issues when it comes to racism in their black friends or their Black family members.
AllHipHop: My first thoughts were I was almost confused. I was like, is this good? Is this bad? Would Black people even do that? Because you, you have some serious depictions in there of beating and rape. It's very triggering, I guess you could say, What made you take that approach? There are cultural nuances that I think exist. Do you think this is even possible in an even in an alternate reality, even in science fiction?
Dale Resteghini: The artistic and creative Aside from my writers who are also Black my producers are black and white, and brown. That's, that's where I just that's where this should be focused on and come on coming up with various possibilities of what can happen. But it's more about Hollywood, always pushing out the stories that people have seen. "Roots," "12 Years A Slave."
They're okay showing black people get brutalized and degraded and enslaved. But the second they see a relatively tame 90 seconds - there's no nudity. There's none. They are okay continually just driving it home. Blacks were enslaved now their minorities we're the group in power. Look what 90 seconds of just a few seconds depicts something brutal. But there's no blood. There's no nudity? And people have lost their mind literally gone bonkers. On the white side.
By and large, all my friends in the community of Hip-Hop and in Hollywood, they supported 100 percent. And they know where I'm coming from because most people know me in the space. So they know I'm a good person, they know where I come from. So they know there's no ulterior motive. Most know that my amazing wife for 25 years, her brother in 1981, and going to FDU in New Jersey was attacked and then beat up and then thrown over a bridge and killed by three white men who never even got charged by the FBI and by the police.
So this is not just for people like her, but even during the George Floyd protests, there were many other mothers and sisters and brothers that would come out and they were talking to reporters telling them their story about their loved one who was killed by cops or whites that never got justice. So nothing had worked up until summer 2020. No movie. No miniseries, no preaching. Nothing has worked. So how dare anybody criticize somebody trying to show it through a new lens.
AllHipHop: What made you go with "Cracka" with an "A," as opposed to an "ER." Was that a play on the N-word or what?
Dale Resteghini: So in a different lifetime, in the late 80s, I was down in Orlando County Jail in Florida, and I was playing spades for push-ups, and I beat this brother and he was mad, and he called me a "cracker" and that word stuck with me all these years. I never knew all these years later, it would be a part of my creative endeavors. But when I came up with the idea of doing this as a way to help educate people, or at least let people see racism through a new lens, I was gonna try to be cute with the title and call it like The Enslaved" or "The Endangered Species," but I said to myself "this isn't a soft tip subject, this is this is really hard-hitting, and it's brutal."
People need to be cracked over the head. And so with a title like "Cracka" it just made total sense. And everybody I spoke to in the business they got it like, "that really is the title." And there's female Black executives that I've been talking to and I've been working with, and they said "No, do not change that title, that is the title."
AllHipHop: You mentioned some of your African-American friends. What's the response from the Black community?
Dale Resteghini: By and large, it's been great. We have the extreme right and we have extreme left. We have extreme whites, extreme Blacks And you know, I've been involved with enough Black women in my life to have heard many comments thrown at me from militants who are like "who are you, white man, with my Black sister" all that kind of stuff.
So, same thing with the crackers who hit me up, the supremacists, hitting me up on my social media, saying we're gonna come to your house, here's your address, we're gonna come lynch you. And so we have those facts on both sides. And if you're going to make a statement, if you want to create change, you're going to get it from somebody. So by and large, the Black community has supported me, but there have been some who have approached me to say, "you don't deserve to do this."
And I'm like, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no." My life and the Black people in my life, what I've been through. I'm an artist, I get to do what I want as an artist. I don't rap. I don't rock. I don't paint, but I film-make. So as my wife calls me a "disruptive filmmaker," I'm entitled to create my art based on my experiences, and I have done this because I'm sick and tired of having up conversations with white people who tell me to my face that racism doesn't exist. They literally say there's no racism. Well, look what look what a 90-second trailer has done.
For full conversation content, watch the video above.