Written By: Dionna Joi
I had the pleasure of speaking with the legendary Cuba Gooding Jr. about his new film “Life of a King”. This inspirational movie is is based on a true story about a man named Eugene Brown. Eugene spent almost 18 years incarcerated for a bank robbery leaving behind his son and daughter. When he came out, he really wanted to make a difference and give inner city kids in Washington D.C. an opportunity to do better and to not follow in the same path that he did. To do so, he wanted to turn them into chess champions, and have them become more intellectual. Cuba really enjoyed channeling Brown in this movie and felt that this was a good movie for young kids coming up to show them a different outlook on being successful. “…I think a lot of kids today look to you know sports and athletes and the money it could bring. Even you know rappers and actors there’s the glamour there but in these inner city communities I think there’s, there’s, more tangible examples of nobility in ex cons who get out of prison and want to do something positive in the community and think this is a prime example of that”. The beauty of the story is that the chess organization called ” The Big Chair Chess Club” is an active club today. Gooding says he really enjoys roles which reflect African American history and heroic underdog roles where his character is able to beat the odds when everything is against him. “When I got this script i was really blown away about the theme of the movie think there’s a common theme… the real life characters I get to play, and I just I think I gravitate toward that father son relationship in the story.” As far as movies dealing with African American history, he feels it is important that these stories are put out there so young African American kids can open their eyes and see a brighter future for themselves . “you know i like these roles that kind of reflect on African American history and that they kind of lift up the experience and they give our kids examples to chose from…[our] ancestors did great things they were kings and queens and if our kids realize that even though you might not have the money that other kids have or the tools you can create your own opportunities, with your mind… I look for these roles first.”
What is next for Cuba? He is currently working on a slave musical that was shot in 2012. It emphasizes the music and hymns the slaves would sing to help make the work day go by. No word of when the movie musical will be finished, for it is still in the editing process. Make sure you go and support Cuba by seeing this incredibly inspiring film. Nothing is more important than uplifting the youth;our future.