Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
April 17, 2014

Blogger's Death Highlights Need To 'Redefine What Strong Is' In Black Community

Karyn Washington
For Brown Girls

WATCH
Bicyclist's Beating Caught On Helmet Cam

Beating
YouTube

Will The New SAT Be A) Shorter B) Harder C) Less Literary D) All Of The Above?

Sat Test
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Obama, Biden To Announce Large Sum For Job Grants

Barack Obama Joe Biden
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WATCH
MLB Honors Jackie Robinson On 67th Anniversary Of His Debut

Dodgers
ASSOCIATED PRESS

These Maps Show Just How Segregated NYC Really Is

Nyc Segregation
Daniel Kay Hertz

Harvard Makes History!

Black Graduation
West Rock via Getty Images

You've Probably Never Heard Of This Pulitzer Winner, But You Should

Stephen Henderson
Kathleen Galligan/Detroit Free Press

Puffy Daddy Is Going To Be A Commencement Speaker

Sean Combs
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Americans' Thoughts On Equal Pay Laws Revealed

Equal Pay
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Detroit Is Auctioning Off Homes For $1,000, But There's A Catch

Detroit
Detroit Land Bank Authority

'He Meant So Much To The Game , But Even More Across Society'

Jackie Robinson Day
Sports Studio Photos via Getty Images

The Latest Twitter Hashtag That Will Totally Change Your Day

Black Amazon Syd
Twitter

Young Black Men Send A Serious Message In A Stylish Way

Young Black Men
YouTube

Family Of Woman Killed Dancing With Cop Wants Her Case To Be Reopened

Adaisha Miller
RIP Adaisha Miller/Facebook

36 People Shot In 36 Hours In Chicago

Chicago Police
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Eric Holder Says He Wasn't Playing Race Card When Decrying GOP Opposition

Eric Holder
J. Countess via Getty Images

ON THE BLOG
When White Women Cross To The Other Side Of The Street

Scared Woman In Street
Image Source via Getty Images

Follow HuffPost

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. Most Popular on HuffPost
    2. Latest News
    3. Black Voices
    4. View all RSS feeds

WATCH
Rapping Doctor Busts A Rhyme To Teach Little Girl How To Take Care Of Her Cast

Doctor
YouTube

B.B. King Apologizes For Big Bust

Bb King
Steve Jennings via Getty Images

Celebs Show Us How To Wear This Season's New 'It' Shoe

Stuart Weitzman Nudist Sandal
Getty

LOOK: Serena Williams Proves Curves Are Both Sporty And Sexy

Serena Williams
Jeff Olson/Fitness Magazine

Today's Rumor Mill Has Beyonce & Jay Z Going On Tour

Beyonce Jay Z
CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Listen To Pharrell's Love Song From 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

Pharrell Williams
Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images

Have I Attached Myself To An Industry That Goes Against Everything I Teach My Kids?

Jodie Patterson
Jodie Patterson Instagram

Ice Cube Responds To Outrage Over Paul Walker Comment

Ice Cube
Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images

New 'Love & Hip Hop' Season Follows Stars' Sex Tape 'Leak'

Mimi Faust
Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images

'Why Am I Crying On Oprah?'

Pharrell Williams Crying Oprah
OWN

Dad Gives Sons The Coolest Music History Lesson Ever

Nat King Cole
Lance Underwood

Nas Comments On His Battle With Jay Z

Nas Jay Z
Frazer Harrison via Getty Images

The Will Ferrell/Pharrell Williams Mashup You Can't Unsee

Will Ferrell Pharrell Williams
Imgur

Fela! on Broadway: Hip-Hop & Hollywood A-Listers to Add Boost

Comments (3)

Fela! On Broadway: Hip Hop & Hollywood A-Listers To Add Boost

Hip-hop royalty is returning to Broadway.

Following in the same vein as Russell Simmons' Tony Award-winning turn with 'Def Jam on Broadway' and Sean 'Diddy' Combs' big splash in Kenny Leon's revival of 'A Raisin in the Sun,' Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith are taking on the Great White Way.

Contract talks have been going on for weeks between the hip-hop and Hollywood A-listers and the 'Fela!' creative team, and today, Richard Kornberg, Billy Zavelson and Tommy Wesley officially announced that the trio has joined the production team of the musical, which chronicles the life of African musician and political activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

The glitzy partnership will hopefully bring in the same star power that Oprah Winfrey's name did for 'The Color Purple' in 2005.

Late last year, The Roots drummer Ahmir '?uestlove' Thompson appealed to 200 of his entertainment industry colleagues via e-mail blast to attend the sold-out limited run of the off-Broadway musical

"It's uncut. It's true to the vision. It's amazing! There is no option. I expect death to be the only reason why you did not see this production," he wrote in his letter.

He closed the plea with: "Get off your ass and see this now."

Now that the show is headed to Broadway, it has been given an $11 million makeover and is set to open at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on Nov. 23.

Beloved Tony Award winner Lillias White joined the cast as Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, the late Afrobeat legend's mother.

And when Sahr Ngaujah -- who mastered the complex lead role when the show debuted off-Broadway, last year -- isn't working his magic on the masses, Kevin Mambo (right), a two-time Daytime Emmy Award winner takes over the role.


Thompson, whose reach has only expanded since The Roots became the house band for Jimmy Fallon's late-night television show, continued to make an impassioned plea for more of his celebrity friends to invest in and support the show, and it seems his calls have been answered.

The addition of Jay-Z and the Smiths could boost ticket sales, which have been reportedly low thus far.

"My job is to be the mouthpiece that can at least catch the ear of a power player for Hollywood and the industry," Thompson, who is also a producer on 'Fela!,' said.

Getting Carter, with whom he has collaborated with, to give 'Fela!' a chance wasn't too difficult a task, thanks to the interests of the Brooklyn MC's superstar wife.

"This play really hit Beyonce in the gut, which in turn really hit [Jay-Z] in the gut, and he was excited about it."

Alicia Keys was also confirmed to have seen 'Fela!' at Thompson's urging.

Similarly, hip-hop star K'naan, who says "Broadway will never be the same now," after having an early look at the show encouraged Mos Def -- who starred in the critically acclaimed play 'Topdog/Underdog' -- and Nas to check it out.

The show's lead producer, Stephen Hendel, said that "these prominent celebrities are also approaching us because they want to be involved in bringing something important and new to the culture."

As previously reported, Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones serves as the show's creative force.



Comments: (3)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 1

Add a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed but they are required to confirm your comments. When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password."