'Snow on Tha Bluff' Exclusive: Curtis Snow Tells What's Real and What's Fake
8 months ago
Incarcerated star of the increasingly popular movie reveals the chaos and reason behind the film.
Each decade, a new "hood movie" seems to come along that becomes the talk of the town it was filmed in, and eventually of the entire country.
In the 90s, we saw cinematic releases like "Boyz in Da Hood," "Menace II Society" and "South Central" capture the stories of people living in impoverished neighborhoods riddled with gangs, drugs and violence. In the 2000s, we saw independent filmmakers go guerrilla and make documentaries like "Hood 2 Hood," where instead of actors, the stars are the actual people who are living the lives that the "hood" movies are based on.
Now, in 2012, there comes a film that blends both acting and reality and blurs the line between the two, "Snow on Tha Bluff." And its star, Curtis Snow, who is currently sitting in jail on charges stemming from events related to the film.
The film begins with chaos as Snow, a low-level drug dealer and "jack boy," snatches a video camera from three college students who are trying to buy drugs from him. From there, Snow returns to his neighborhood, "Tha Bluff," where he films events that are common and everyday for him, like smoking weed, drinking liquor, robbing other drug dealers and shooting up houses in revenge. Snow takes part in all four activities in the film. The film also showcases Snow's relationship with his grandmother, his son, Little Curtis, and the mother of his child, who was killed in 2005.
The film is based in a west Atlanta area officially nicknamed "the Bluff," a forgotten corner of the larger English Avenue community that rests between the equally notorious Vine City and Bankhead neighborhoods. The area is walking distance from where the Atlanta Falcons play and just a short ride from where Georgia Tech, Spelman and Morehouse students attend classes. Both former presidential candidate Herman Cain and singer Gladys Knight called the area home before things took a turn for the worst 30 years ago when the Bluff became known as a hub for heroin and prostitution.
Its reputation has earned it the acronym "Better Leave, U F***ing Fool" among locals. The area is little known because it's rarely mentioned. It doesn't get shouted out in rap songs by Ludacris. News cameras are afraid to go there. On the rare occasions it gets coverage, the area is usually called "Atlanta's forgotten community." And for as much gentrification and new building that has taken place in Atlanta since the 1996 Olympic Games, the Bluff has remained overlooked, untouched and built around.
"It's certain streets you can't even walk on period," Snow said Tuesday evening during a telephone interview from the Fulton County jail, where he had been held since July as a result of events related to the film. "Even when I'm walking around, sometimes I have to make it known that it's me. Or when I have people with me, I have to let folks know that they with me and they not the police. But if you in the Bluff, you have to have a reason to be over there, and it's usually because you're up to no good. If you live there, ok. But if you're a visitor, you have to be with somebody who has a name that rings a bell, to make you official. If they don't recognize you, they going to want to see what's going on."
Snow's incarceration may seem like life imitating art. But the line between the scripted and the reality as it concerns Snow's life -- like in the movie itself -- is blurred. First off, Snow is not an actor. He is an actual person you could see on the block if you drove past it. Second, much of the footage includes scenes Snow not only filmed, but in which Snow himself stars.
"First, we did a little rough draft of me in the 'hood kicking it, waiting on random s**t to happen," Snow said. "Then as time went on, we wound up capturing a lot of real s**t. The other stuff we freestyled and came off the top with it."