44 Blue Productions (Wahlburgers, Hollywood Medium) has acquired the rights to Shantrelle P. Lewis’ book Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style and has partnered with Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions for a Dandy Lion docuseries.
Inspired by the book and its curated collection of photographs and stories, Dandy Lions will chart the history of the Black Dandy fashion and style movement and its increased attention in recent years, with the popularity of social media platforms such as Street Etiquette, and celebrities like Jidenna, Amar’e Stoudemire and Janelle Monae. The book was published by Aperture in 2017 to solid reviews.
Characterized by outfits that pop with brilliant colors, loud patterns and tailored precision, the movement has continued over many generations in black cultures around the world to become a recognizable aesthetic; but the story of Black Dandyism’s political roots, which originate in Enlightenment England’s slavery culture, represents a less well-known aspect of its story. Set today against the backdrop of hip hop culture that involves socially relevant conversations around police brutality, gender and more, Dandy Lions will explore how, as author Lewis puts it, “for black men, fashion choices can be a matter of life and death.”
“Today, when race sits at the center of many conversations, Dandy Lions argues how style has, and can be, a tool of resistance, while also asserting that Blackness, despite its often one-dimensional misrepresentation in the media, is not a monolith,” Lewis added.
Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch, co-founder and president of leading unscripted production company 44 Blue, will executive produce with Tennon, Davis and Lewis.
“This project looks at how men dress in the Dandy style across the world and how they influence culture through a powerful positive lens,” said Davis and Tennon.
On the unscripted side, JuVee also has four-part docuseries Two Sides and Last Defense – a 7-hour documentary miniseries — in the works for ABC.
“After reading Ms. Lewis’ book, and discovering its incredibly timely themes, we were inspired to bring these fascinating but little-known stories to television”, said Drachkovitch. “We could not have found better partners in Ms. Davis, her husband and business partner Julius Tennon and JuVee’s Head of Television Andrew Wang.”