While channel surfing a few nights ago I stumbled upon the movie, "Hustle & Flow", and decided I'd see what had made it a contender for Academy Awards of any kind. I am certainly a Terrence Howard fan, but, like with the song, reviews and commentary about the film were heavy with controversy, so it had not made it to the top of my 'must see' list. May I humbly admit that when the final credits started to roll I had experienced a personal epiphany, and I completely understood what was being conveyed in "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" in ways perhaps I wish I did not.
This dark, haunting, ultra real slice of American life was summed up in the reverberating words of Howard's character as the movie comes to an end. "Everybody's got to have a dream, " he says, and the dreams of a bottom-of-the-bucket scraping, want-to-escape-from-this-life and release-these-women-from-it-too southern pimp became as real as those of an ivy league bound socially challenged boy in the movie "Scent of a Woman." Dreams are dreams. The brutal, socially repugnant lyrics that leapt from the lips of both Terrance Howard's character Djay and Taraji Henson's character Shug are replete with the truth of lives lived amongst us all every day. Seeing the movie I am forced to understand, to acknowledge, and, to somewhat reluctantly laud, the wisdom of the Academy in it choice of "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" from "Hustle & Flow", music and lyrics by Jordan Houston, Cedrice Coleman, and Paul Beauregard, as the 78th Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science Music Song Winner. It is worth another listen -- in context.