Reginald Lewis Bio ("Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun") Being Adapted; Jamie Foxx May Star

by Tambay A. Obenson
August 17, 2011 1:41 AM
15 Comments
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The biography of African American lawyer, entrepreneur, Wall Street wizard and philanthropist, Reginald Lewis, once the wealthiest black man in this country, is currently being adapted for the screen, with Jamie Foxx potentially playing the lead role.

Stephen Belber (who has penned scripts for TV shows Rescue Me and Law & Order: SVU) is said to be currently adapting Lewis' book Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun, Lewis' inspiring story of how he would grow out of poverty to become the wealthiest black man in American in the 80s, building a billion dollar multinational company in Beatrice International (a food, beverage and grocery store conglomerate - the largest African American owned and managed business in the USA at the time), and accumulating a personal fortune of over $400 million at the time of his death in 1993 from brain cancer.

I read the book 5 or 6 years back once, based on a recommendation, and I vaguely remember it all of its content, though I can give you the gist of it. I'll have to read it again so that I can post up a book-to-film analysis. I already have a few of those in the works.

But from what I do recall of the book, Reginald didn't exactly have the most likable of personalities; he was arrogant, temperamental, tough, principled, fiercely driven, and formidable, and he expected the same from everyone who worked with or for him. Men like him usually are all those things and more, which tends to help explain their successes. But he was also very giving as a philanthropist, and was very aware of his position as a wealthy black man in this country, and the image he portrayed. He made a number of shrewd business deals that catapulted him to prominence, and died way too early at just 50 years old.

As a vehicle for Jamie Foxx? Sure, why Not? Though I'm sure comparisons to Will Smith in Pursuit Of Happyness will likely be made, if the film is ever produced.

The full title of the book is Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun: How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire; pick up a copy if you haven't read it yet.

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15 Comments

  • ALM | November 14, 2012 7:08 PMReply

    Why haven't I heard more about Mr. Lewis? Even with the attitude issues you cited, you would think that he would have shown up in Black history celebrations. No one is perfect.

  • Kenneth Butler | November 14, 2012 12:35 PMReply

    I think Idris Alba should play the part

  • Winston | November 14, 2012 12:59 PM

    "Alba"? Really?

  • You know exactly who I am | July 20, 2012 1:37 AMReply

    This is a joke. The executive who has the rights to Reginald Lewis' story, is, in my first amendment protected opinion, the absolute worst person to bring this great man's story to the silver screen.

    The Lewis family would be embarrassed if they knew how this fool was conducting himself. In my opinion, the current rights holder only furthers negative stereotypes about black men in the entertainment business. I've never met a slimier, more self-absorbed, more dishonest, ugly (down in his soul ugly) person in my life. I wish him nothing but the worst. I sure hope Loida and the rights find themselves in better hands some time soon.

  • Jessi | June 26, 2012 7:20 PMReply

    Read Reginald Lewis’ “Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?” before you see it on the big screen. Win your copy here: http://on.fb.me/WSWGHATF

  • JMac | August 18, 2011 5:13 AMReply

    Okay I get ya. Actually I was thinking about his transvestite past re: Affion's show. Living Color was funny as hell but my only memory of Jamie was doing the Wanda bit. Even then I never considered him as one of the heavyweights: Keenan, Damon, Tommy, David, Jim. Jamie was just a support member which may explain why Affion's show isn't as good as it should be.

    **End of slight hi-jack**

    It would be nice to have films of great black historical figures but the most likely venue for them would be PBS. So I guess me and the 10 other black people who watch PBS on the reg will have the pleasure of watching them. ;D

  • urbanauteur | August 18, 2011 3:34 AMReply

    If Hollywood is so inclined to do bio-pics on the aspiring [Black Bourgie/aristocracts], then why not someone like Madame C.J.Walker , John H.Johnson or Al Hampton?, but throughly 'immersed' inside a historical context, opp's...:)... i forgot thatz my wishful thinking:0.

  • urbanauteur | August 18, 2011 3:24 AMReply

    @JMAC, i've should've been more clear, what i meant by jamie foxx persona/charactors, was i cant get pass his cinematic duplicity, or his penchant for impersonating faux tranvestites!. i bet eveytime him & his boy(martin lawrence) are on rodea drive,waliking by neiman-margus, they proably make a mad dash to its female section.
    like radio host-warren ballentine would quip...i'm just saying..:)

  • Neziah | August 17, 2011 5:46 AMReply

    Sounds fascinating. Looks like Jamie will earn himself a second Oscar sooner or later.

  • JMac | August 17, 2011 5:27 AMReply

    Jamie Fox doesn't seem quite right for the role but girlie? He may do a good job but my first choice would be an unknown. Nobody popular today could pretend to fill his shoes.

    I still have my copy of Black Enterprise with him on the front. Depresses me.

  • urbanauteur | August 17, 2011 4:43 AMReply

    I actually had accidently bump into this distinguised brother @ a buppie lucheon back in 1987, as to why I was there is another topic:) but thebrief encounter, he came off GENUINE and especially at that function.
    Now as for this jamie foxx charactor, come on ..seriously?... this girlie man cant hold a candle to maybe a more worthy actor(in the truest sense) someone like -Chiowel Ejofor or Don Chedle..?

  • Rodney | August 17, 2011 3:07 AMReply

    I also read the book many years ago. I recall it being partially in the words of Lewis himself and partially in the words of a biographer. You are correct in that he wasn't the most likable person. Also, he acquired his wealth playing the LBO game in the 1980's. The intricacies of LBO financing is not really dramatic material. For these reasons, it would be interesting to see how the story is adapted for the screen.

  • Tamara | August 17, 2011 2:36 AMReply

    Wow, never heard of him. 400 Billion in 1993? That's would equate, to what, JILLIONS! in today's market! lol. At 50 is definitely too young.

    I swear, my to-read/to-rent/to-buy list is ever-growing thanks to this site. *wink*

  • Adam Scott Thompson | August 17, 2011 2:32 AMReply

    The most slept-on black mogul in American history. A biopic is LONG overdue.

  • slb | August 17, 2011 2:32 AMReply

    Sounds interesting. I knew the game. I didn't know he died at 50. I'm looking forward to the movie.

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