John Legend, Jesse Williams Team For Film On Athlete Who Participated In Black Power Protest At 1968 Olympics
John Legend and Jesse Williams are working on a documentary that will look at the 1968 Black Power salute seen around the world. More than four decades before Colin Kaepernick took a knee in silent protest of police brutality and racial injustice, Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos made a statement with raised fists during the Summer Olympic games in Mexico City.
The documentary, With Drawn Arms, is executive produced by Williams and Legend, along with the Grammy and Oscar winning singer’s partners from his Get Lifted Film Co., Deadline reports.
Smith is the focus of the documentary. The former sprinter and NFL wide received took home the gold medal at the 1968 games after completing the 200-meter dash, while Carlos earned the bronze medal. Both men were suspended for raising their fists during the medal ceremony, stripped of their credentials, and given 48 hours to leave Olympic Village.
With Drawn Arms is currently in production in Los Angeles and is co-directed by Glenn Kaino and Afshin Shahidi, who is the father of Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi, and worked as one of Prince’s personal photographers.
“Tommie Smith is more than an iconic poster or risky act of defiance that inspires people the world over,” Williams said in a statement noting that Smith is a “living man, whose incredible journey is worthy of examination.”
He added, “I couldn’t be more excited to join forces with this team of filmmakers, to share his reality and challenge our notions of heroism in the process.”
Legend shared similar sentiments stating, “In this current climate we are once again being charged to stand up to bigotry, fear, and hate. We are inspired by this story and honored to be a creative partner on this film.”