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Kevin Harrison Jr. to Play Jean-Michel Basquiat in Upcoming Biopic

By Kiani Shabazz

It has been announced that the Award-winning actor, Kelvin Harrison Jr. will take the role of New York City artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in Julius Onah’s upcoming biopic on the late painter named, Samo Lives. 

Samo Lives will follow the life, career, and influence of Basquiat, who was an integral part of New York City’s art scene in the 1980s along with Andy Warhol, Kieth Haring, Fab 5 Freddy, and Blondie. 

“Jean-Michel Basquiat redefined the idea of who ascends to the highest altitudes of the fine art world. But the complexity and richness of his experience as an artist and child of the African diaspora has yet to be dramatized in the manner it deserves,” Onah said in a statement. “It’s an honor to work with Kelvin and my collaborators, and with Endeavor Content, to celebrate the legacy of an artist who has invited audiences everywhere to be inspired by the transformative power of art.”

She continued by saying that she first discovered Basquiat’s work at the age of 14, and was incredibly moved by it.

“It was a gateway for a kid desperate to find artists he could see himself in. But 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,” she said. “Never have we seen the full spectrum of Basquiat’s incredible 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.”

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