June 2001
A Huey Newton Story

by Rae Wilson

A Huey Newton Story

Director : Spike Lee

Screenwriter: Roger Guenveur Smith

Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cast: Roger Guenveur Smith

 

 

Gil Scott-Heron was wrong. The Revolution will be televised after all.  Adapted from Roger Guenveur Smith’s Obie Award winning off-Broadway solo performance of the same name, "A Huey P. Newton Story", brings the Revolution live and direct to your living room. But instead of watching as the people "take it to the streets" we are enthralled as Newton’s personal demons and glaring contradictions do battle. For Newton was both introvert and icon, a man that championed freedom and power while succumbing to the grip of addiction. The film is a journey beyond the mythology and symbolism that combined to create the larger than life Newton caricature. Guenveur Smith’s Newton is beguiling and alarming and utterly human.

Shot before a live audience, Guenveur Smith speaks to us, unscripted, in Newton’s own words. Director Spike Lee uses classic soul, original compositions, and archival footage to flesh out Newton the man in the proper context. What amazes is that the Newton we see is not cloaked in nostalgia. He is very much alive, transitioning smoothly between riffs on J. Edgar Hoover and quoting from the rhymes of Biggie Smalls. The film triumphs because it is an introduction to Newton as a microcosm of ourselves, our culture, our struggle. And the revolution rages on.

"A Huey P. Newton Story" premieres Monday, June 18 at 9pm ET/PT on BLACKSTARZ!, a premium cable channel. Schedule of future airings can be found at www.ahueypnewtonstory.com