Roc-a-Fella co-founder Kareem “Biggs” Burke is back on our radar and still committed to tapping into his trademark entrepreneurial spirit. This time, though, he is not exclusively working in the realm of apparel and music but is expanding his repertoire to include film production.
Biggs’ name is currently attached to two Tribeca Film Festival projects – O.G., which premiered at School of Visual Arts #2 in NYC last Friday, and It’s A Hard Truth, Ain’t It, which premiered last night – both as an Executive Producer. Both films are directed by Madeleine Sackler and touch on important truths surrounding our nation’s criminal justice system.
O.G. is the semi-fictional story of an incarcerated man, played by Jeffrey Wright, whose life becomes intertwined with that of a younger fellow inmate who acts as sort of an acolyte to Wright’s character, therefore complicating his pending release.
It’s a Hard Truth, Ain’t It is a documentary following the lives of incarcerated individuals who participated in a real-life project conducted by Sackler in which she screened classic documentaries and held film discussions with the group.
Biggs’ interest in these films most likely stems from his own time spent behind bars. In 2012, Burke was targeted in a sting operation, busted for intent to grow and distribute over 100 kilos of marijuana, and sentenced to prison. In addition to his interest in criminal justice and natural talent for promotion of various projects, having Biggs’ firsthand expertise undoubtedly enhanced the authenticity of these films.
In an interview with Deadline, Burke said:
“Madeleine Sackler hit the nail on the head by letting the inmates show vulnerability by addressing their crimes and the life they lived that brought them to prison by making wrong decisions. I’m hopeful that this will spark debate and discussions that will not only cause the government to be more compassionate but also divert people from making the same mistakes that may land them in prison.”
Of Biggs’ involvement, Ms. Sackler said:
“Biggs’ work in the incarceration space combined with his entrepreneurial expertise is unparalleled, and we are so fortunate to have such a positive, committed partner.”
Biggs’ involvement has already garnered attention to the films from major publications like the New Yorker. As film festival reception is only one leg of a larger path toward motion picture release, we’ll have to say tuned with regard to these films’ success. However, it seems Burke might have a knack for this, and we are excited to see what may come from him behind the silver screen.