In This Issue
Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe along with music legends Swizz Beatz and Timbaland will be producing a documentary titled Gifted & Black on Prime Video, Deadline reports. The doc is inspired by Swizz and Timbaland’s Verzuz series and will be directed by James Adolphus.
According to the report, Gifted & Black "explores the traditions of Black music to connect, going from the plantation to the Pulitzer Prize. Set against the backdrop of the pandemic and the recent racial reckoning, Gifted & Black frames those traditions in the context of the collective resiliency fundamental to the Black experience.”
Matt Newman, co-head of movies at Amazon Studios noted the cultural impact of Verzuz and the looming influence of Black music.
“The launch of Verzuz reminded us of the multigenerational excitement for music ‘battles,’ which gave us the escape we all craved in 2020,” shared Newman. “We are thrilled to work with Hillman Grad, Good Trouble, Swizz Beatz, and Timbaland to give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the building of the Verzuz franchise.”
The film will feature candid interviews and archival footage that displays the beauty, creativity, and power of Black music.
“I’m grateful to Swizz and Tim for trusting us with something so historic,” said Waithe on behalf of Hillman Grad Productions. “Verzuz is more than just two artists going song-for-song. It’s a testament to the power of Black people. It’s the joyful celebration of legacy that we all needed. With this documentary, we’re excited to take audiences behind the scenes of this global phenomenon, while also paying tribute to the artists that shaped us. We could not be more grateful to Amazon for seeing the vision, and this film wouldn’t be possible without our amazing filmmakers, James Adolphus and Ben Selkow. They have flown to every city, interviewed every artist, and continue to capture history as it happens. We can’t wait for the world to see how this whole thing comes together.”
“When we first started this mission the entire world had hit rock bottom. People were going through so much and Tim and I felt we should do something to help folks escape,” added Swizz Beatz. “The rest is history; we made the magical call to Hillman Grad because we only wanted people to see the best of the best.”
“Swizz and I are excited to show the world everything that took place behind scenes during the process while celebrating the artists that helped us build Verzuz,” said Timbaland. “Verzuz came from our love of culture and our love of music and the fact that it has become the force it is today is way beyond anything Swizz or I could’ve imagined.”