Roger Guenveur Smith, who’s well known for his work with Spike Lee and his one-man Huey P. Newton play, is bringing Rodney King’s story to Netflix.
King was brutally beaten by four Los Angeles police officers in 1991. The incident, which was caught on video, was the catalyst for the race riots that, for the first time, gave the mainstream America a glimpse into the injustices of law enforcement toward African-Americans. After years of battling alcohol and drug abuse, King died in 2012, but his story still lives on.
“When he died, I was struck with how much I was moved, how much this tragic figure mattered to me,” Smith told Variety.
For the past four years, he’s been performing the play to audiences across the country, but now the streaming service is giving access to a much larger audience.
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According to Variety, the date for airing Rodney King has been chosen to coincide with the upcoming 25th anniversary of the state court acquittals of the four LAPD officers who beat him mercilessly. The acquittals, which took place in Simi Valley, sparked three days of rioting that left 53 dead.
Spike Lee directed the play and Steven Adams and Bob L. Johnson are producing for Luna Ray Media.