On a brisk Thursday night on Wilshire Boulevard, Petersen Automotive Museum’s uppermost floor became center stage as the outdoor, rooftop red carpet (green, in this case) unfolded beneath clear skies in anticipation of Hulu’s upcoming screenings of Drive with Swizz Beatz.
Years in the making and filmed across the globe, Drive follows legendary hip-hop producer and business mogul Swizz Beatz and his son Nasir Dean as they dive into car culture across the world, from Houston, Texas all the way to Saudi Arabia. Behind black ropes and beside strategically placed spotlights, the carpet had a custom gray backdrop with sculpted cars and neon lights suspended on its walls.
Music blared with hip-hop from across the decades; sleek, black Escalades glided to a stop, and elegantly dressed guests strolled into view. Meanwhile, a cadre of diligent workers scurried about, meticulously arranging camera equipment, adjusting lighting fixtures, and ensuring every detail was primed for the spectacle about to unfold.
As the night progressed, the A-listers appeared, including: Mona Scott-Young (creator of Love & Hip Hop) and Wiz Khalifa. Finally, the carpet was dawned by the men of the hour, Swizz Beatz and Nasir Dean — preceded by the series’ producers, Patrick Costello, Raymond Garcia and Emmet Dennis — who were beacons of fashion in their respective styles. Swizz sported a blue, white-trimmed racing-inspired fire suit, while his son wore a unique, over-sized designer suit with a black baseball cap featuring pink cartoon characters like Spongebob and Tom & Jerry.
Before the talent and press was invited indoors for the screening and reception ceremonies, I had the opportunity to speak to the cast and creators about their experiences working on the show, logistic highs and lows as well as what everyone’s experience with car culture was prior to embarking on the journey to create the show.