The 1983 documentary Style Wars is often referred to as the “Original Hip Hop Documentary”. The quality and impact of the film warrant the claim despite the fact Manfred Kerchheimer’s worthy Stations of the Elevated was released two years prior. Style Wars greatly benefited from the contributions of legendary Hip Hop photographer Henry Chalfant’s contributions as producer. At the 1983 Sundance Film Festival, Style Wars took home the Grand Prize for Documentaries. We’ve done some reading that explored how in many ways Hip Hop was born out of the existing economic, political, and social conditions in 1960’s and 1970’s postindustrial New York City. In many ways, if it weren’t for the abandonment of the youth by the government, lack of police presence, gang culture, high unemployment rates, and overall poverty at the time, the seed of Hip Hop might never have blossomed and flourished the way it did. Despite the fact this film was shot in the early 1980’s we still see remnants of postindustrial New York City. Yet now the politics has changed somewhat as the powers that be have not found a way to embrace the new art form of graffiti and instead have chosen to criminalize it. As a result, we see the politics of abandonment that birthed Hip Hop give way to a politics of containment as the politicians and city officials start to heavily police and control the youth. Questions to consider for the purpose of this discussion: Why do you think the city chose to attack graffiti in the manner they did? This was at a time when there were great cries of “moral decay” running rampant throughout the city. People felt the city was a dangerous place to live and visit. Do you think the time and resources invested in policing the graffiti writers could have been better allocated, perhaps to alleviate other forms of crime? During the decade spanning 1972 to 1982, the MTA invested over $150 million dollars to combat graffiti. Do you think there might have been more cost-effective methods of eliminating subway graffiti? Looking back if you were in the shoes of Mayor Koch what are some proposals or alternatives you might have considered?