Spike Lee to Direct 'Frederick Douglass Now'

Roger Guenveur Smith and Spike Lee

Famed director Spike Lee has a new project lined up-- Roger Guenveur Smith’s “Frederick Douglass Now,” a one-man stage show. This is the latest of collaborations between Lee and Smith, Smith having portrayed 10 roles in Lee’s movies, going all the way back to “School Daze” (1988).

The director, writer, producer, and actor known for classic “Spike Lee Joints” like “Do the Right Thing” (1989) and “Malcolm X,” (1992) released his latest film, “BlacKkKlansman” earlier this year. Through works like “Frederick Douglass Now,” Lee consistently works to tell stories that speak to the nuances of the Black experience in America.

Douglass (1818-1895) continues to be one America’s most exceptional figures: celebrated 19th-century author and orator, pioneering feminist, eminent human rights leader in the anti-slavery movement, and the first African-American citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank.

“Frederick Douglass Now” takes viewers through a full-on experience, which begins with Smith delivering a rap, mashing up references to slavery and modern-day life in America. The show goes on with quotes from Douglass’ essays and letters weaved together with Smith’s own words.

Twenty years in the making, the film adaptation will bring music from jazz artist Branford Marsalis.

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