News Brief

Barry Jenkins' Next Film Will Be An Adaptation of James Baldwin's 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

The director of 'Moonlight' is set to adapt James Baldwin's 1974 book 'If Beale Street Could Talk,' into a feature film.

DIASPORA—Barry Jenkins will follow up his Oscar-winning film Moonlight, with an upcoming film adaptation of James Baldwin's 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk. 


The love story—set in 1970s Harlem—centers on a young couple, Tish and Fonny who are engaged and about to have their first child. Their lives are upended when Fonny is accused of rape. The story follows Tish as she tries to prove his innocence.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jenkins wrote the screenplay in the summer of 2013, the same summer he wrote Moonlight.

Jenkins is also set to direct another novel-based adaptation of Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad for Amazon.

“We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation," said Baldwin's sister, Gloria Karefa-Smart in a statement. "Barry is a sublimely conscious and gifted filmmaker, whose Medicine for Melancholy impressed us so greatly that we had to work with him.”

Jenkins has expressed his enthusiasm about the upcoming project. “James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day," said Jenkins in a statement.

“To translate the power of Tish and Fonny’s love to the screen in Baldwin’s image is a dream I’ve long held dear. Working alongside the Baldwin Estate, I’m excited to finally make that dream come true.”

Production for the film is set to begin in October.

Music

Interview: Ranks ATM Makes ‘Substance Music’

South African hip-hop artist Ranks ATM on his latest EP 'Substance Music', working with Riky Rick and his crew African Trap Movement's new chapter.

Ranks ATM demands to be taken seriously. With every successive release, listeners are bound to pick up on both his personal and artistic growth. His latest EP, Substance Music, released towards the end of 2020, is an honest body of work that sees the artist divulge some aspects of his life while remaining playful and entertaining.

Young2unn, who produced a majority of the project, gave Ranks ATM beats that primarily consist of keys and strings cushioned by atmospheric pads and ethereal vocal samples panned for effect. The music is soulful enough for Ranks to tell his story and gritty enough to maintain his street aesthetic.

On Substance Music, the artist strikes the balance between playful banter and poignant expression of emotions. It's what makes his raps believable in general—he presents himself as a complete human who feels pain at times but also feels himself. Songs such as "Die For Me" and "How Could It Be" are laced with specific details that could have only been extracted from his life experiences, for instance, on the former, he raps, "You cheated on me with a gym freak, you did me dirty."

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