How Angela Davis Got Free: Jay-Z, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith Tell the Story


Jay-Z, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith have joined forces to produce Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, a documentary premiering at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. The film marks the 40th anniversary of the acquittal of Angela Davis, the revered African American activist, writer and educator who faced criminal charges in the 1970s, at a heated moment in civil-rights history.   


Will and Jada Smith’s production company, Overbrook Entertainment, along with Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s Roc Nation have come together as executive producers for this film. Davis was arrested in 1970 for allegedly taking part in the escape attempt of George Lester Jackson, a black prisoner who was charged with the murder of a prison guard. Her arrest caused uproar among civil-rights advocates, and her acquittal in June 1972 was celebrated throughout the African-American community.“[Director] Shola Lynch has crafted an intricate and compelling film about Angela Davis,” said Jay-Z. “Roc Nation is honored to be a part of a creative collective that can present such a riveting story.”



“Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners” follows Davis’ life through her days as a member of the Black Panthers and the Che-Lumumba Club (an all-black branch of the Communist Party), her 18 months spent in prison, and her current days teaching at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


“We at Overbrook Entertainment are very proud to support this intriguing documentary about the life of Angela Davis,” said Jada Pinkett Smith. “Filmmaker Shola Lynch has done an incredible job in revealing a piece of American history we thought we all knew.”

This isn't the first time Jay-Z and Smith have collaborated in the film world--the two icons are also responsible for the production of Tony Award-winning musical FELA! and the upcoming film remake of Annie, starring Will Smith's daughter, Willow.

"Free Angela Davis" features interviews with Davis, as well as journalists, FBI agents, and her lawyers involved with the famous case. We can't wait to see it--how about you?


Photo credit: ColorLines, Biography.com, SouthWestern.edu, News One


Tagged in: will smith, Toronto Film Festival, rap, jay-z, Jada Pinkett Smith, hip-hop, documentary, black women, black liberation, Angela Davis, African-American   

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