Jay-Z & Will Smith Join Forces Like Voltron To Form Film Production Company

This is pretty epic. Capitalizing off of the success of the Broadway musical FELA! (which garnered seven Tony Awards nominations before ending its run on the Great White Way) and the unavoidable magnetism and building momentum behind pop tart Willow Smith, heavyweights Jay-Z and Will Smith have announced a business partnership that will develop and produce major motion pictures. To be specific, the joint venture involves Jay-Z and Overbrook Entertainment heads Jada Pinkett Smith, James Lassiter, and the Fresh Prince himself.

Making things official, their next project is a reinterpretation of Broadway’s Annie, with a hip hop spin, naturally, starring Willow, naturally. While this venture is sure to maximize the power of the urban dollar, such a remake could either be a wonderfully brilliant vehicle for mini Jada’s career…or an insult to the legacy of a beloved body of work (a la Beyoncé’s Carmen: A Hip Hopera), painting it “black” without any real improvements. I am willing to bet that a major motivator in this venture is to have a steady rotation of projects on deck for members of the Smith clan. Nevermind that neither child is a stellar actor. Nevermind that a gaydar-deficient Terry McMillan claims these “arrogant” Smith children are being “pimped.”

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At any rate, the company, the name of which has yet to be released, will combine the box office power of Will’s Overbrook Entertainment (responsible for all Smith family films starting with Ali) and the dynamic business savvy of Jay’s Roc Nation (artist/producer management, touring, publishing, record label, etc.) to produce wildly consumable film projects (and soundtracks, naturally). Regardless of the quality, I applaud these two for amassing this type of commercial weight and power. Neither’s resume is without the occasional flop, but I’m certain this union will bring about more good than bad. Ten years ago, I’m sure very few would have foreseen them reaching such career heights. Now, if only these two masterminds could produce some acting ability for Madame Knowles-Carter…

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