Jean-Michel Basquiat’s story and art will never cease to amaze.
In fall of 2022, SAMO LIVES will begin to demonstrate the life and celebrate the legacy of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The film will take us through the ups and downs of the famed Haitian-Puerto Rican-American artist. The biopic will be directed by Nigerian-American Julius Onah who wrote and directed the enticing psychological warfare film Luce.
Julius Onah has brought along the star of Luce to play the role of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Julius Onah seem to have built quite the chemistry to continue working together. Kelvin announced the news on his Instagram.
Kelvin Harris Jr. – Instagram
There’s a reason Kelvin was a nominee at the Film Independent Spirit Awards for best lead, the guy can act.
Prior to this upcoming biopic, Jean Michel-Basquiat’s story was told in the 1996 biopic Basquiat. Even though Basquiat’s story was told, the portrayal of Basquiat was told through the eyes of Julian Schnabel.
Julius Onah expressed the importance of getting the dramatization of Basquiat’s life right.
Part of my becoming aware of Jean-Michel was through Julian Schnabel’s film from 1996. It was a gateway for a kid a desperate to find artists he could see himself in. But the older I got and the more I learned about Jean-Michel, I began to feel his story hadn’t fully been told in cinema.
Never have we seen the full spectrum of Basquiat’s incredible life as a Black artist and as a child of the immigrant African diaspora. And the richness and nuance of his journey is a story worthy of celebration.
Jean Michel-Basquiat died at the age of 27 in 1988.
He didn’t get to see what his Neo-expressionistic art inspired. The paintings and street art brought the style and power that influenced jazz, bebop and hip-hop. At 22-years-old became the youngest person to be exhibited at the prestigious American art exhibition, The Whitney Biennial. He still holds that record.
In 2017, his 1982 painting Untitled sold for a sickening $110.5 million at Sotheby’s Auctions. That would make his painting the sixth most expensive painting ever sold in history. SAMO is actually the pseudonym him and fellow artist Al Diaz used to create graffiti in the streets. SAMO stands for “same ‘ol” or “same ‘ol sh*t”. They used the saying to critique the many flaws that they saw in society.
Basquiat may have ended the SAMO back in the 80s with another defining painting. But after Al Diaz resurrected the tag in 2019, SAMO clearly LIVES. The biopic will begin production in the fall.