Shottas Inna Duane Reade

Words By Jesse Serwer


Five years back, Shottas was on its way to becoming the new millenium Scarface. Jamaican-American filmmaker Cess Silvera‘s low-budget, Ky-mani Marley-starring 2002 crime film was a favorite among both real and wannabe thugs, and a popular reference point in rap lyrics. The fact that you only could get the bootleg-only flick from the African DVD dude on the Ave, and not at Blockbuster, just added to its appeal. Not to mention that the movie was literally stolen, still unfinished, from Silvera. (Missing-scene placeholders like “Mike Tyson Gets The Shottas Guns” are actually more memorable than the proper scenes). But an attempt to release the proper, finished version of Shottas in 2006 failed (it played in a few New York theaters for one week), to a large degree killing its buzz.

…And now you can find it in the check-out area of New York’s most ubiquitous drug store chain, Duane Reade. An unusual location for sure โ€” drug store/supermarket DVD racks are typically the domain of Beethoven sequels, Romcoms and D-level Disney films. But perhaps not as unlikely as it may seem. With little help from its surly employees and sloppy stores, Duane Reade thrives by stocking the sort of items that New Yorkers want and need. According to this New York magazine article, they sell way more contraceptives, AIDS medications and Viagra than drug stores in other parts of the country, and even developed their own makeup line to cater more to the darker complexions of N.Y. women. Apparently, one can then deduct, New York still hearts Shottas (and also Snatch).