dream hampton

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dream hampton
Sandra Jackson-Dumont & Dream Hampton 01.jpg
hampton (right) in 2013
Alma materNew York University
  • Filmmaker and Producer
  • Essayist
  • Editor of The Source

Dream Hampton (stylized as dream hampton in lowercase letters, in emulation of feminist author bell hooks, who was an early influence) is an American cultural critic[1] and filmmaker.[2]

Early life[edit]

Hampton was born in 1971 in Detroit, Michigan. She was named after Martin Luther King’s most celebrated speech, "I Have a Dream".[3] Hampton attended New York University. She studied film at the Tisch School of the Arts. During her time at Tisch, she created a film for a documentary class. The documentary starred her neighbor at the time, Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace.


Hampton is a writer, film maker, cultural critic and hip-hop journalist. Originally from Detroit, she has spent most of her professional career between her hometown and New York. She is the first female editor of The Source magazine. She also served as editor-in-chief of short-lived Los Angeles-based Rap Pages Magazine[4] and has been a contributor to Vibe for 15 years, beginning with its launch 1993,[5] The Village Voice,[6] and Spin.[7] Her essays have also been included in over a dozen anthologies, including Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas's Illmatic (2009), edited by Michael Eric Dyson, and Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness (2012), edited by Rebecca Walker.[8] She was cited as one of the editors and writers of Jay-Z's Decoded. In addition, she also worked with him on The Black Book, which was never published. hampton was the associate producer of Behind the Music: The Notorious B.I.G., which featured footage from a previous documentary she filmed while in attendance at NYU.[9] and co-producer of Bigger than Life, the first feature-length documentary on the rapper, directed by Peter Spier.

Aside from her numerous contributions with the field of hip-hop journalism, she has also produced and written several films. Known for being a social activist, she focuses many of her films on current events and issues primarily within the black community. Her short film I am Ali was an entry at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival[10] and won "Best Short Film" at Vanity Fair's Newport Film Festival. She was a co-executive producer of An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (2012),[11] associate producer of The Russian Winter (2012),[12] director of the music video QueenS (2012) for SubPop artists TheeSatisfaction![13] "QueenS" was hampton's music video directorial debut. In 2013, she directed TransParent, a documentary that targeted the 2011 Detroit killing of Shelley Hilliard, a 19-year-old transgender woman.[14]

Hampton was also the creator of We Demand Justice for Ranisha Mcbride, a short documentary film following the protest for Mcbride, which hampton herself organized.[15] Hampton was a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and a sponsor of Black August, a yearly tribute concert benefiting political prisoners.[16] Her film about the event, Black August: A Hip-Hop Documentary Concert, debuted at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 2010.[17]

Hampton served as executive producer of Surviving R. Kelly, a 2019 documentary series about the sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly.[18]

The Source[edit]

Hampton first joined hip-hop magazine The Source as an intern photo editor,[19] and was employed there for a total of 18 months.[20] In that period of time she created some notable pieces and earned a position as editor. It was her editorial piece about Dee Barnes that launched her career as a writer, and editor of The Source magazine.[19] In the piece, she covered the beating of Dee Barnes, by Dr. Dre. She also spent six months with Tupac, following his story in person for a cover story.

Works and publications[edit]



  • "D'Angelo: Soul Man", Vibe Magazine, April 2000[22]
  • "Parable of the Writer: Octavia E. Butler, science fiction visionary, 1947–2006", The Village Voice[6]
  • "Dreaming America: Hip Hop Culture", Spin Magazine, November 1993.[7]


  • "Bad Boy", in The Vibe History of Hip Hop, Three Rivers Press[23]
  • "Born Alone, Die Alone", in Born to use mics: reading Nas's Illmatic By Michael Eric Dyson, Sohail Daulatzai[24]
  • "Audacity", in Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness. Edited by Rebecca Walker, Soft Skull Press, February 1, 2012[25]


  • Behind The Music: The Notorious B.I.G., 1997, associate producer[26]
  • I Am Ali, 2002, Director[27]
  • Notorious B.I.G.: Bigger Than Life, 2007, executive producer
  • Black August: A Hip-Hop Documentary Concert, 2010, director[28]
  • "The Russian Winter" 2012, associate producer
  • "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty", 2012, co-executive producer[11]
  • "QueenS", 2012. Music video for SubPop artists, TheeSatisfaction![13]
  • Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice Mapping a Detroit Story,[29] 2015, executive producer
  • Surviving R. Kelly, 2019, executive producer


  1. ^ Yo' mama's disfunktional!: fighting the culture wars in urban America by Robin D. G. Kelley. Beacon Press, 1998
  2. ^ Jurgensen, John. "Just Asking: Decoding Jay-Z". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  3. ^ "D Original: Interview With dream hampton". The Starting Five. 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  4. ^ IT'S THE MONEY NOT THE MUSIC A RAP GALLEY[permanent dead link], New York Daily News. April 4, 1997.
  5. ^ "VIBE Magazine December 2010/January 2011 Issue Hits Newsstands November 30th, EON: Enhanced Online News, November 29, 2010
  6. ^ a b of the Writer, The Village Voice, Tuesday, February 28, 2006.
  7. ^ a b Dreaming America: Hip Hop Culture, Spin Magazine, November 1993..
  8. ^ "Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness" (review), Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2011.
  9. ^ Ross, Lawrence. "The Root Interview: dream hampton on 'Black August'". The Root. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  10. ^ I Am Ali, Sundance Institute Archives
  11. ^ a b "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty".
  12. ^ "Dream Hampton", IMDb.
  13. ^ a b "Thee Satisfaction - 'Queens'". Vimeo.
  14. ^ Morgan, Glennisha (2013-06-21). "'Transparent' Documentary Highlights Shelley Hilliard's Murder". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  15. ^ Tiggett, Jai (2015-06-08). "Social Justice at the Forefront of LA Film Fest's June 11 #BlackLifeBlackProtest Event". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  16. ^ dream hampton’s ‘Black August: A Hip Hop Benefit Concert’ documentary DC screening by Ayan Islam. The Smuggler, Nov 19 2010.
  17. ^ Art + Revolution: Honoring Black August!, Lincoln Center
  18. ^ Fortin, Jacey (2019-01-04). "'Surviving R. Kelly' Documentary on Lifetime Details Sex Abuse Accusations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  19. ^ a b "It Was All a Dream: dream hampton Talks Black Women, Sex, & Hip-Hop". Clutch Magazine. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  20. ^ Rausch, Andrew J. (2011-04-01). I Am Hip-Hop: Conversations on the Music and Culture. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810877924.
  21. ^ Decoded, Jay-Z, Random House, ISBN 978-1-4000-6892-0
  22. ^ Vibe Magazine, April 2000.
  23. ^ The Vibe History of Hip Hop, 2010: Three Rivers Press, 432 pages, ISBN 0-609-80503-7
  24. ^ Born to use mics: reading Nas's Illmatic By Michael Eric Dyson, Sohail Daulatzai. Basic Civitas Books (December 29, 2009). ISBN 0-465-00211-0
  25. ^ Staff (December 12, 2011). "Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness. Edited by Rebecca Walker.", Publishers Weekly.
  26. ^ The Root Interview: dream hampton on Black August Archived December 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. by Lawrence C. Ross Jr. The Root, November 4, 2010
  27. ^ I Am Ali, 2002, IMDB
  28. ^ Jayson Rodriguez, "'Black August' Screening Draws Chris Rock, Talib Kweli, More", MTV News, August 27, 2010.
  29. ^ Wilson, Brandon. "LAFF Review: dream hampton's Devastating 'Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice; Mapping a Detroit Story'". Shadow and Act. Retrieved 2016-02-06.

External links[edit]