Four years after appearing in 2019 romantic comedy What Men Want, Erykah Badu is returning to our screens. The Dallas-born artist has recently joined the cast of the Netflix adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Piano Lesson. Reprising their roles from the recent Broadway revival are John David Washington as Boy Willie and Samuel L. Jackson as Doaker Charles. The play also scored two Tony Award nominations this year, Best Revival of a Play and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role for Jackson.
Badu’s cameo in the film will reintroduce “her soulful sound and eclectic style,” Variety confirms. Set in 1936 after The Great Depression, The Piano Lesson centers the Charles family, helmed by Charles (Jackson) and their heirloom, the family piano, which has designs carved by an enslaved ancestor. In the 1987 production of The Piano Lesson, Jackson originally played Boy Willie.
Also starring in the Netflix adaptation are Danielle Deadwyler (Till), Corey Hawkins (The Tragedy of Macbeth), Michael Potts (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), and Ray Fisher (Zack Snyder’s Justice League). Directed by Malcolm Washington from a screenplay he adapted with Virgil Williams, The Piano Lesson will also be produced by Denzel Washington.
Badu, born Erica Wright, has had a handful of scripted roles in film, including 1998’s Blues Brothers 2000, 1999’s The Cider House Rules, 2004’s House of D, 2013’s They Die by Dawn and 2016’s The Land. This summer, she’ll embark on the Unfollow Me Tour with Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def.
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