Jay-Z and Will Smith are collaborating once again; this time the two moguls, who have expanded their individual empires beyond spitting rhymes, are now partnering to remake Annie, starring Willow Smith.
Willow recently signed to Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s label, which produced her hit single “Whip My Hair.” If the meteoric rise of that track was any indication, we can expect Annie 2.0 to be a huge success.
Plus, the film has the combined expertise and experience of heavy-hitters Jay and Will behind it.
Jay-Z’s no stranger to Annie or the power of its songs. His popular "Hard-Knock Life” track sampled those famous lyrics from the Broadway play and blockbuster movie: “Instead of treated, we get tricked. Instead of kisses, we get kicks. It’s a hard-knock life.”
Jay-Z has also dabbled in theater as a producer for the Broadway show Fela!, along with Will and his wife Jada.
As for Will, his Overbrook Entertainment company is responsible for many of his blockbuster movies, including Hitch and The Pursuit of Happyness, as well as his son Jaden’s starring vehicle, The Karate Kid.
There hasn’t been any word on whether the new Annie will include a majority Black cast.
Annie, the story of an orphan who’s eventually adopted by a wealthy man, has had many interpretations as a comic strip, Broadway play and movies for TV and big screen.
This will be the first time the title character is portrayed by an African American on a nationwide platform.
-Tracy L. Scott