Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, has come forward about his reported starring role in an upcoming Thelonious Monk biopic announced Wednesday.
Revolt reports that Bey has clarified on Instagram that he will not take part in any film that doesn’t have the blessing of Monk’s family. According to him, he was led to believe the family approved of the film, but learned that was far from the truth.
“I’m excited, the fans are excited…and then July 22, there’s a message from the Monk estate saying they condemn the project,” he said in a video posted to his Instagram account, visibly frustrated.”
“Let me be clear: if the Monk estate is not happy with it, if Mr. Monk III is not happy with it, then neither am I,” he said. “To be clear, I was given every indication by the production company that he family was on board. That was one of my primary questions…that the family supported the project. I took them at their word and clearly that wasn’t the case.”
“…I can’t lie–I’m super excited if there’s a chance to tell this type of story still the right way, only with the estate’s approval and full involvement and acceptance. So that’s that,” he continued.
“Yeah man, I’m tight,” he added. “I haven’t done a film in a while, I haven’t had any great yearnings to do one, but this one was something I was really excited about,” he said. “Perhaps another time, under better auspices, but not right now. So c’est la vie.”
He said in the video that he “can’t say enough” of how Monk shaped his life as an artist, and it’s clear in his words and demeanor that Bey wanted to do his idol justice. Hopefully there will be another chance for Bey to live out his hope of portraying Monk in a biopic approved by the Monk family.