Rappers-turned-actors Will Smith and Queen Latifah may be Oscar nominees, but they haven’t forgotten their hip-hop roots. The two are teaming up for a new version of William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet.
The pair will produce a musical version of the tragic love story, set to hip-hop and directed by Solvan “Slick” Naim, an Algerian-American filmmaker and rapper. Naim co-wrote the adaptation with Dave Broome, Deadline reports.
“The plot is said to be a contemporary musical take on Romeo and Juliet set against the urban rhythms of New York,” according to the site. “The love story follows a young waitress from the streets of Brooklyn and an aspiring musician from a wealthy family whose unconventional romance forces them to confront their life choices.”
“Humbled and grateful to @netflix and the whole team behind this amazing project,” said Naim on Instagram.
Latifah also recently launched her passion project, The Queen Collective — a program developed in partnership with Procter & Gamble and Tribeca Studios—which aims to promote gender and racial equality among filmmakers. The initiative works to shorten the gap between multicultural female directors and their male counterparts, through mentoring, production support and by offering equal distribution opportunities.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.