Nelson George’s ‘My Funny Valentine’ And Watching Q-Tip Portray Miles Davis

“I am motherfucking Miles Davis and you wrote me a letter right?”

This is the first of many memorable lines Q-Tip read as Miles Davis in a sold out script reading for Nelson George‘s My Funny Valentine at the Public Theater Monday night. Narrated by Margot Bingham and featuring Chris Beetem, Jaime Lincoln Smith, Morocco Omari, and others, the screenplay is set in the early 80s and finds Davis drugged out and frustrated, the famed trumpeter trying to maintain relevance in an era where jazz no longer reigns supreme as America’s soundtrack.

But an avid young white fan by the name of Sammy (Rarmian Newton) reignites a passion for life and music in Davis. The latter responds to the former’s letter asking to meet him while he’s in New York City on Valentine’s Day. The events that transpire between the two constantly teeter between comedy and poignancy, as Sammy slowly realizes that the “So What” trumpeter isn’t who he used to be. He hasn’t touched his trumpet or his electric piano in years. He’s disappointed in some of his peers because they’re comfortable with playing traditional jazz and not experimenting with the genre. He’s also envious of peers who’ve successfully crossed over and made jazz interesting to a younger audience. And he’s looking for love on Valentine’s Day, a through line that manifests itself not only through his relationship with music but his relationship with on-and-off again partner Enzinga, portrayed by actress Simone Missick.

Q-Tip’s portrayal of a post-fame Davis was so compelling that I constantly forgot I was watching a hip-hop icon portray a jazz icon. The two were intertwined; Q-Tip’s imitation of Davis’ raspy and soft voice showcased the trumpeter’s multiplicity — his angst, charm, humor, coolness. Davis was a flawed human being and the dedication Q-Tip offered in conveying that is an integral part of My Funny Valentine‘s allure.

Ideally, George will transform his screenplay into a full play. (Unlike a play script readings aren’t complete productions, with actors and actresses simply reading their parts.) But even if he doesn’t, My Funny Valentine as a script reading was still a compelling and immersive experience, with Q-Tip capturing the flawed genius of one of music’s greatest artists.

Three Best Quotes Q-Tip Said As Miles Davis

“I’m trying to be your funny valentine’s bitch.”

“Have we fucked yet?”

“Eating pussy comes with a multitude of sins.”

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

Published by
Elijah C. Watson

Recent Posts

Questlove Will Co-Curate a Hip-Hop 50 Performance During the 2023 Grammys

In partnership with Mass Appeal, Questlove will co-curate the Hip-Hop 50 tribute during the 65th… Read More

January 31, 2023

This AI Generator Will Allow You to Turn Mundane Topics Into a Drake Song

Drake fans are using website AI generator website Drayk.it to make automatic versions of songs… Read More

January 31, 2023

Will Smith & Martin Lawrence Announce Fourth ‘Bad Boys’ Movie

On Tuesday, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence went to social media to announce the fourth… Read More

January 31, 2023

Lil Wayne Is Hitting the the Road for ‘Welcome to Tha Carter Tour’

Rap icon Lil Wayne will embark on the 'Welcome to Tha Carter Tour' in April,… Read More

January 31, 2023

This ’70s Song is Seeing a Huge Boost in Streams Thanks to ‘The Last of Us’

The 1970 Linda Ronstadt song "Long Long Time" was used in the third episode of… Read More

January 31, 2023

Donald Glover Gives First Look At Forthcoming Show ‘Swarm’

In a Vanity Fair exclusive, Donald Glover and Janine Nabers shared first look images and… Read More

January 31, 2023