Netflix Will Stream Spike Lee’s ‘Rodney King’ Film
Netflix is adding Spike Lee’s film, Rodney King to its roster of free streaming content — as part of its Black Lives Matter collection of films, TV shows and documentaries.
The film originally premiered in 2017 to recognize the 25th anniversary of the L.A. Riots, which were spurred by the police beating of Rodney King after a high-speed chase during his arrest for drunk driving. The subsequent trial in 1992 saw the acquittal of four officers, despite their use of excessive force being caught on camera.
Rodney King is a one-man show where actor Roger Guenveur Smith does a multitude of voices, alternately taking and opposing Rodney King’s side. Smith researched, wrote and improvised the screenplay over the course of a few weeks.
Smith also spoke about the film during a live online discussion in accordance to the film’s new premiere on Netflix — with Sarah Bellamy, artistic director of the Penumbra Theatre of St. Paul, MN. The theater presents work exclusively by black artists and produced Smith’s play in 2015.
Netflix created the new Black Lives Matter collection earlier this month for its U.S. subscribers, featuring over 45 titles about racial injustice and the experience of Black Americans. It spawned from growing public interest in the Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Titles included in the collection are Ava DuVernay’s 13th and “When They See Us”; Mudbound; “Orange Is the New Black”; Dear White People; and Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning Moonlight.
Also included is another film by Oscar-winner Spike Lee — his new dramatic feature, Da 5 Bloods — which explores themes of race, war and the patriotism of African Americans.
Netflix was among the first media and entertainment companies to announce support for the Black Lives Matter movement after the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed.
“To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter,” Netflix said in a May 30 tweet. “We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.”
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