A New Biopic Celebrates the Journey of Jean-Michel Basquiat as a Black Artist
Played by Kelvin Harrison Jr. and directed by Julius Onah of the 2019 thriller, ‘Luce.’
A new biopic titled Samo Lives is dedicated to the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, a prominent Black artist in the 1980s whose journey was cut short at the age of 27.
One of the headers of Neo-expressionism, Basquiat, at the mere age of 22, was the youngest artist to exhibit at New York’s Whitney Biennial. His painting Untitled sold for $110.5 million USD at an auction back in 2017, deeming it one of the most expensive artworks as of late. The contemporary artist will be played by Kelvin Harrison Jr. in the new film directed by Julius Onah. They have previously teamed up on the 2019 blockbuster Luce.
This is the first time Basquiat’s story is portrayed by a Black filmmaker. Onah explained: “The older I got and the more I learned about Jean-Michel, the more I began to feel his story hadn’t fully been told in cinema.” He continued, “Never have we seen the full spectrum of Basquiat’s life as a Black artist and a child of the immigrant African diaspora. And the richness and nuance of his journey is a story worthy of celebration.”
Filming for Samo Lives will begin this coming fall.