On March 3, 1991 the world witnessed the tragic beating of Rodney King at the hands of four Los Angeles police officers.
Not only did the video lead to the violent L.A. Riots – which lasted for three days and left 53 dead- but the brutal footage would forever change the conversation in relation to police brutality and race.
In 2012, years after King made a plea asking, “Can we all get along” on national television on the last day of the riot, he died by drowning. King also had a lengthy history with narcotics and alcohol.
The trail of events sparked interest in actor Roger Guenveur Smith (Dope, A Huey P. Newton Story, Do The Right Thing) and led him into in-depth research of King’s life. Now, in a one-man show presentation, Smith will bring that to life under the direction of Spike Lee.
The filmed performance, titled Rodney King, will premiere on Netflix on April 28, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the four officers’ state court acquittal in Simi Valley.
“When he died, I was struck with how much I was moved, how much this tragic figure mattered to me.” Smith told Variety.
Smith has been performing the one-man production for four years and will carryout final shows in Oakland, Dallas, Los Angeles and Portland.
Our eyes will certainly be glued to the screen when Rodney King hits the streaming waves.
Below is a taste of Smith’s empowering and beautiful work in A Huey P. Newton Story.