‘Trouble’ Hits HBO

The Oscar-nominated Hurricane Katrina documentary 'Trouble the Water' is finally coming to cable. The Root catches up with Kim Rivers Roberts, the Ninth Ward hero whose camera and life story took us by storm.


New Orleans is my city

Katrina had to move me...

I'm the Ninth Ward, for sure

-Kim "Black Kold Madina" Rivers Roberts, "Ninth Ward" 

To watch Kim Rivers Roberts rap toward the end of the Oscar-nominated Trouble the Water, which debuts on HBO on Thursday, is to see the whole nightmare of Katrina crystallized in verse. The fear, the fury, the hope, all pulsing through a crunked-out beat. Roberts is a portrait in true grit, a denizen of the Ninth Ward who, when she realized that she and her husband, Scott, had no hope in hell of getting out of NOLA in time, grabbed a camcorder and flipped the switch. The waters kept on rising; she kept on filming. 

By happenstance, Roberts happened on Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, two filmmakers who were trolling for a story. The result: a firsthand, up-close documentary of Hurricane Katrina and the chaos it wrought. 

The Root first wrote about Trouble the Water last year, when it had its theatrical release. 

With Roberts' story set to mesmerize a new audience on HBO, we wanted to catch up with her to talk about her world post-doc and post-Oscars. The accidental filmmaker's a mom now. She's been to Paris and the Oscars. She's got an album, Troubled the Water, dropping on May 6. Her husband's working construction and helping her to promote her music. Life, she says, is full.


The Root: Was that your own video camera?