Beyoncé’s hotly anticipated Black is King project premieres July 31 on Disney+. Inspired by The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack, the visual album “re-imagines the lessons of The Lion King for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns.” Queen B isn’t the only celebrity using their platforms to tell unique, authentic and necessary stories. Projects that aim to present positive imagery, address social issues and highlight community activism are being supported more and more by Grammy Award-winners, Hollywood power players and all-star athletes. Here are a few upcoming celeb-cosigned projects to be aware of.
Beyoncé Delivers Black Is King
Described as “a story of how the people left most broken have an extraordinary gift and a purposeful future,” Black Is King will boast appearances from Jay-Z, Naomi Campbell, Pharrell Williams, Lupita Nyong’o and others and feature visuals for tracks such as “Brown Skin Girl,” “Mood 4 Eva” and “My Power.” Beyoncé wrote, directed and executive produced the project that was filmed in parts of Africa, as well as in American cities like Los Angeles and New York.
Nick Cannon Completes Nipsey Hussle’s Dr. Sebi Documentary
Strong Enemies: The Untold Case of Dr. Sebi is the name of the Dr. Sebi-focused documentary Nipsey Hussle had been working on prior to his death. Picking up where Neighborhood Nip left off, Nick Cannon completed the project that focuses on the herbal doctor’s Supreme Court trial. Sebi famously claimed that he had cured AIDs and other ailments and as a result was charged and later acquitted of practicing medicine without a license. Strong Enemies: The Untold Case of Dr. Sebi’s first trailer was released earlier this year.
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Russell Westbrook Producing Television Series on the Tulsa Riot of 1921
Before being burned down in 1921 by an angry mob of white’s from neighboring, less affluent communities, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District was known as Black Wall Street. As a result of the vicious three-day long attack, hundreds of Black men, women and children were killed and many more were forced to leave for good. With the help of Russell Westbrook, the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre will live on. “When I learned about the heartbreaking events that happened in Tulsa nearly 100 years ago, I knew this was a story I wanted to tell,” says the former Oklahoma City Thunder player, who is executive producing the television series Terror in Tulsa: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street. “It’s upsetting that the atrocities that transpired then are still so relevant today.” Look for Terror in Tulsa to be released in 2021.
LeBron James Producing Documentary About the Tulsa Riot of 1921
Russell Westbrook isn’t the only NBA baller bringing attention to the often overlooked Tulsa Race Massacre. Lebron James, along with his production company SpringHill Entertainment, is producing a documentary based on the events that took place during the infamous race riot.
Colin Kaepernick Producing Docuseries Based on His Life
As the NFL (and much of America) finally began to understand that Colin Kaepernick’s original reasoning for kneeling was in protest of police brutality and racial injustice and not to offend flag-lovers, it was announced that ESPN would be producing a docuseries based on the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. According to ESPN, the project, which Jemele Hill is involved in, will cover Kaep’s journey from NFL star to celebrated activist and will be followed by more content that will “explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity.”
Pharrell Williams Producing Juneteenth Musical for Netflix
Pharrell Williams was in attendance earlier this year when the governor of Virginia announced that Juneteenth will be recognized as a state holiday. “This year, Juneteenth will look like no other,” said the Oscar-nominated and Grammy Award-winning Virginia native, who is set to unveil a musical based on the holiday that marked the end of American slavery. The hitmaker and style icon will collaborate with Kenya Barris, the creator of hit shows Black-ish and BlackAF, and Netflix on the as-of-yet untitled project.
Ava DuVernay and Roc Nation Team Up for Nipsey Hussle Documentary
The life of rap star and community activist Nipsey Hussle will be the focus of a forthcoming Ava DuVernay production. Produced in collaboration with the late artist’s family and Roc Nation, the documentary is slated to premiere on Netflix.
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