Jussie Smollet's feature directorial debut, which is an adaptation of James Earl Hardy's B-Boy Blues, has been set to premiere at this year's American Black Film Festival (ABFF). It stars Timothy Richardson, Ledisi, Brandee Evans, Broderick Hunter, Marquise Vilson and newcomer Thomas Mackie as Raheim.
The film will follow the journey of two Black men, one who makes a career as a journalist (similar to Hardy's career as a music journalist) and the other who works as a bike messenger. In 1995, the book became a Lambda Literary Award finalist for Best LGBT/Small Press Title. The book is described as a title that “continues to be a staple within the Black LGBTQ/Same Gender Loving community, spawning a series that has now sold millions worldwide."
In an exclusive statement to Shadow and Act, Smollett said, "We are all beyond honored to officially be part of the ABFF family. It’s the festival we prayed for and it’s the festival we got. To have a film like B-Boy Blues, that is entirely for us/by us, be acknowledged alongside these other crazy talented filmmakers and artists is something I don’t take lightly. Grateful is an understatement. See y’all in Miami.”
Hardy said, “It’s been a long time in the making—just over a quarter of a century—so to say that I am overjoyed would be an understatement. I tip my hat to the entire B-Boy Blues The Film family and especially Jussie, who shared the vision, honored the novel’s cultural imprint, and was bold enough to don the producer’s cap and step into the director’s chair. Judging from the end result, I placed my baby in the right hands. He came on board officially in June of 2020 and within four months, we had an entire film ready to roll. When he yelled ‘Action!’ for the first time on October 17th, I finally exhaled. And literally one year after his last ‘Cut!’, Mitchell and Raheim’s groundbreaking love story will have its world premiere with a cinematic community that provides a very necessary space for Black voices to be heard, seen, and celebrated. That’s the cherry on top of my hot fudge sundae. As Raheim aka Pooquie would exclaim: ‘I feel better than jood!’”
Along with directing, Smollett also produces the film through SuperMassive Movies, the newest arm of his Story Worthy Pictures production company. SuperMassive has raised seven figures in collaboration with Tom Wilson, Cleveland, OH-based radio broadcast investor. The label's funding will "help finance independent micro-budgeted projects from LGBTQ+, women and filmmakers of color."
Hardy also produces as well as SuperMassive Movies investor Tom Wilson. Other producers include Madia Hill Scott, Frank Gatson, Sampson McCormick, Stephanie Frederique, April Qualls and Madia Hill Scott.
The festival takes place virtually in November.
View the exclusive poster below: