Culture

Swizz Beatz & Timbaland Nab Lena Waithe for ‘Verzuz’ Documentary

Titled Gifted & Black, the Lena Waithe-produced Amazon documentary will chronicle the rise of Verzuz, which began two years ago this month.

Verzuz will have an inaugural full-length feature on Amazon Prime. Based on Verzuz–co-created by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland in March 2020–Gifted & Black follows the saga of the webcast series, interweaved with “insights into how Black music continues to be an uplifting and uniting salvation that endures through uncertain times”, according to Deadline.

Along with exploring the viral series, Gifted & Black will feature poignant interviews and archival footage that chronicle the roots of Black music.

Partnered between Amazon Studios, Hillman Grad Productions and Good Trouble Studios, James Adolphus is set to direct, while Lena Waithe, Beatz and Timbaland will produce. Co-producers for Gifted & Black will also include Hillman Grad Productions’ Rishi Rajani, Good Trouble Studios’ Ben Selkow, and Adolphus, Monique Blake, and Gary Marella.

“I’m grateful to Swizz and Tim for trusting us with something so historic,” said Waithe shared in a statement on behalf of Hillman Grad Productions. “Verzuz is more than just two artists going song-for-song. It’s a testament to the power of Black people. It’s the joyful celebration of legacy that we all needed. With this documentary, we’re excited to take audiences behind the scenes of this global phenomenon, while also paying tribute to the artists that shaped us.”

“When we first started this mission the entire world had hit rock bottom. People were going through so much and Tim and I felt we should do something to help folks escape,” Swizz Beatz added, “The rest is history, we made the magical call to Hillman Grad because we only wanted people to see the best of the best.”

Gifted & Black doesn’t have a release date yet, but it will air on Amazon Prime Video.

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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