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Yasiin Bey, formerly Mos Def, to Star in Unauthorized Thelonious Monk Biopic

Everett / Shutterstock (Monk) Quil Lemons (Bey)

Yasiin Bey, the artist formerly known as Mos Def, is set to star in an upcoming biopic chronicling the life of legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. Production company Jupiter Rising Film is set to begin production on the film in summer 2022.

Peter Lord Moreland, co-founder of Jupiter Rising Film shared a statement saying that the film “will center around [Monk’s] struggles for musical success, mental illness and the spiritual love triangle between his wife Nellie and one of the world’s richest women, Nica Rothschild."

T.S. Monk, Thelonious Monk's son, is not happy about the production. Monk is also the chairman and co-founder of Rhythm-A-Ning Entertainment, the official company of the Thelonious Monk Estate. He told Pitchfork, “This project and its announcement are totally unauthorized! I hate the script and I control the music in Thelonious’ catalog.” He went on, “There is no involvement by anyone in the Monk family with this project, and we actually condemn the effort.”

No representative of Jupiter Rising Film has commented on the stance of Monk's estate.

Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org