A Huey P. Newton Story, Roger Guenveur Smith's self-penned, one man show, will air on PBS on Feb. 13 at 9 PM EST (check local listings). Smith repeats the role of the controversial Black Panthers leader he played in hailed productions at the Public Theater and across the nation. A D.C. mounting of the play won him a Helen Hayes Award. Filmmaker Spike Lee directs the movie. As in the stage piece, Smith, dressed in black and chain-smoking herbal cigarettes camouflaged by a Kool pack, sits on a bare stage in a chair. For ninety minutes, he rattles on at lightning speed, in Newton's soft, jumpy falsetto, about the character's rough childhood in Oakland, CA, his founding with Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party of Self-Defense, the government-backed destruction of the often violent and always newsworthy group, his time in jail and assorted bits of home grown philosophy.
The film was shown last year on the Black Starz cable network.
—By Robert Simonson