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Marcus Garvey Biopic In Development (Don Cheadle Producing, Kevin Navayne Starring)

by Tambay A. Obenson
April 2, 2012 10:15 AM
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File this one under "things that make you go hmm..."

I'm hearing through several sources that a Marcus Garvey biopic is indeed in development (all pending negotiations as one source says) that will be produced by Don Cheadle's Crescendo Productions, directed by George Tillman Jr. (Notorious, Barber Shop), written by Sonni Kojo the child of the late John Henrik Clarke, and starring Kevin Navayne (above photo) as the lead.

Relative newcomer Kevin Navayne's resume comprises of mostly TV work; in fact, he was scheduled to co-star in Spike Lee's Da Brick, which HBO passed on. His most recent stint prior to that was a stint on One Life To Live.

He's also spent a good number of years as a fashion model.

I should note that Mr Navayne is originally from Jamaica, as was the character he just might eventually play on film - Marcus Garvey - was.

I'm not at all familiar with Sonni Kojo's scriptwriting/story-telling abilities; a Google search returned nothing, other than the fact that he's Dr Henrik Clarke's son. But given his lineage -  son of a celebrated writer, historian, professor, pioneer - I'm curious.

Born Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. on  August 17th1887, in St. Ann's BayJamaicaa biopic on the life of the controversial entrepreneur, Black Nationalist, Pan-Africanist, and powerful orator, is one that we've considered on S&A in previous posts, although nothing's materialized... until now it appears.

There was a 2 1/2 hour PBS documentary on Garvey, titled Marcus Garvey: Look For Me In The Whirlwind, directed by Stanley Nelson, which aired in 2000, and is currently on DVD. You could probably find it someone online as well.

Let's see whether this Cheadle/Kojo/Navayne project actually happens; when I have more info, I'll share...

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  • | April 9, 2012 2:16 AMReply

    would love to see this. just do it!

  • Anita G. Arnold | April 4, 2012 11:27 AMReply

    Thanks for the info. I see you are using "Shadow and Act," the same name as one of the books that Ralph Ellison wrote. That is a great tribute to Ralph Ellison.

  • anon | April 4, 2012 11:03 AMReply

    wth? people should be supporting his left right and centre this is proper black history and the comments are like blah... but people are raving on about the latest stupid indie movie about ghetto kids (pariah et al) this is what s&a should be promoting this man was talking about everything shadow and act wants- black people having their own infrastructure.

  • Ava | April 2, 2012 4:31 PMReply

    As an artist of Jamaican ancestry, I'm hopeful but very nervous about it. I hope that all involved will do due diligence to the telling of this person's life story.

  • urbanauteur | April 5, 2012 7:47 PM

    @AVA, you took those salient words right out mouth, NERVOUS OPTIMISM is indeed in order here, b/c having met both revolutionary stalwart: QUEEN MOTHER MOORE i was appointed her college campus escort @ a Reparations rally back in 1990 and while in her beautiful captivity, i bombarded her with blitzrieg of questions, which i will cherish for the rest of my life and it will be the screenplay basis of my VERSION of this Pan African, she was the embodiment of Black Power when it was`nt fashionable, 60 odd years out of Chattel Slavery! AND then to have a audosity to wield a six shooter in her bossum,to protect her ace boon, i must say, she's quite the lady;-) , also having met Margus Garvey's son AND author Tony Martin @ a black film fest...with that said if i dont see NO SMOKE,THEN IT AINT NO MOFO PHIRE(FIRE),My Dear but i will remain mute for now...
    as they say, avedasan

  • Nadine | April 3, 2012 8:24 AM

    SOOOOO right... McQueen is a "truth-teller". Cheadle should definitely consider partnering with him.

  • Chrscoche | April 3, 2012 1:09 AM

    Wow, Ava, I'm glad YOU said it.. McQueen definitely has an excitement about him; maybe because he's not American? Too many of our Black American filmmakers seem so homogenized: jaded enthusiasm and personality-free (excluding Tyler Perry, yay or nay... perhaps that's why he's a jillionaire). A smarter person than I would investigate why we have to leave the United States to find exciting Black filmmakers that snap, crackle and pop with promise and enthusiasm..

  • Nadine | April 2, 2012 11:57 PM

    Ditto on everything you said... from ancestry and nervousness to McQueen. Whatever is done...movies wise, it must be done "grand". I wonder who will play W.E.B. or if it will get watered down to preserve Dubois' legacy... this will be interesting.

  • Ava | April 2, 2012 4:37 PM

    Just to clarify, when I say 'this person', I meant that so many times, we speak of the figure, the icon or the symbol while forgetting that he was once a flesh and blood person with real personal struggles (ill health, deportation, fake death announcements) in addition to what he meant to a movement.
    I respect Don Cheadle, but I'm not going to lie, I might have been excited if Steve McQueen had taken on the direction duties.

  • intersting | April 2, 2012 2:11 PMReply

    There is another project that I know is being worked on also. Garvey must be popular now

  • Sonya Childress | April 2, 2012 1:14 PMReply

    Thanks for the mention of Stanley Nelson's doc on Marcus Garvey. You can view a clip and find out more about the film here:

  • urbanauteur | April 2, 2012 12:20 PMReply

    I'm curious as to which depiction, U.N.I.A or its splitter group(Margus Garvey Commitee)..???

  • HAQ | April 2, 2012 12:00 PMReply


    ...and if they make him the political enemy of the government they should then many people will. He needs a trailer like he was public enemy number #1 and he was.

  • HAQ | April 2, 2012 11:59 AMReply




  • Ed DuRante | April 2, 2012 10:26 AMReply

    But, who is going to go see it? I'm the demographic. Marcus Garvey is personal hero. I wrote my college thesis about him and Malcolm X... but I'm bored already.

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