Yasiin Bey says he won’t star in Thelonious Monk biopic unless the Monk family approves
Yesterday, it was announced that Jupiter Rising Film are planning to make a Thelonious Monk biopic called Thelonious with rapper Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) starring in the titular role. After the news broke, Thelonious Monk’s son and the chairman and co-founder of Rhythm-A-Ning Entertainment, T.S. Monk, said to Pitchfork, "This project and its announcement are totally unauthorized! I hate the script and I control the music in Thelonious’ catalog. There is no involvement by anyone in the Monk family with this project, and we actually condemn the effort."
Now, in a video posted to Instagram, Yasiin Bey revealed that he won't do the film unless the Monk family approves. "Let me be clear, if the Monk estate is not happy with it, if Mr. Monk III is not happy with it, then neither am I," he said in the video. "To be clear, I was given every indication by the production company that the family was on board. It was one of my primary questions. Just as important as the music, if not more important, was that the family supported the project. I took [the producers] at their word and clearly that wasn’t the case."
Yasiin continued, "I can’t lie, I’m super excited still if there’s an opportunity to tell this type of story, but in the right way and only with the estate’s approval and full involvement and acceptance, so that's that."
He later added, "I’m tight. I haven’t done a film in a while, I haven’t had any great yearnings to do them, but this one was something I was really excited about. So perhaps another time, under better auspices, but not right now. So c’est la vie. I just wanna say, Thelonious Monk is one of my favorite artists of all time. Brilliant Corners and A Love Supreme are responsible for shaping the type of person and artist that I am today. I can't say enough about how much I love Thelonious Monk's work."
Watch the full video below...