BHM Inspiration - The Chris Rock Show (1997-2000)


Growing up in the late 90’s early 2000’s one of my favorite shows was the Chris Rock show on HBO. After his breakthrough standup special “Bring The Pain” in 1996, Rock’s star rocketed with him landing prime movie and TV opportunities. He was offered a deal with HBO for his own talk show show which he accepted producing five seasons of a show that was representative of my generation who grew up following the established music order (Rap & R&B) while charting our own taste in alternative music within black and white music. Rock’s show was revolutionary in comparison to previous late night shows for me because it was short, the guests were random non standard celebrity fare, it could go in any direction he wanted because it was HBO, and most important the shows live music talent was unparalleled due to its diversity. I would argue that Rock did for late 90’s emerging black music what Letterman did for college rock/underground music with his show in the 80’s. They were both able to take chances because of their location (Letterman being after Carson and Rock on HBO) that competitors didn’t see as enticing or interesting.

In the late 90’s the internet was not what it is today and with that discovering culture through magazines and late night TV was the norm. Rock’s show exposed me to a new world of creatives and thought in black music. Each week I turned in to see who would be the guests, enjoying the performance, and then looking for that artist’s physical album later to complete the circle. Here are a few of my favorite performances from The Chris Rock Show during its iconic run.