Leon Talks Transformative Portrayal of Blues Legend Eddie Taylor in ‘The Rhythm and the Blues’ | EUR Exclusive

Written by on May 8, 2024

The Rhythm and the Blues
Leon in ‘The Rhythm and the Blues’ / YouTube screenshot

*We caught up with enigmatic actor Leon to discuss his portrayal of real-life bluesman Eddie Taylor in the highly anticipated film “The Rhythm and the Blues,” which premieres this weekend as part of the 31st New York African Film Festival at Film at Lincoln Center.

NYAFF runs from May 8 to 14 at FLC, then moves on to the Maysles Documentary Center and concludes at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s DanceAfrica under the name Film Africa from May 24 to May 30.

Per the news release: Since its inception in 1993, the festival has been at the forefront of showcasing African and diaspora filmmakers’ unique storytelling through the moving image. This year’s theme, “Convergence of Time,” explores the intersection of historical and contemporary roles played by individuals representing Africa and its diaspora in art.”

“The 31st New York African Film Festival has so much to offer in terms of honoring the origins of homegrown, beloved African and diaspora film industry, as well as celebrating their references in modern masterpieces,” said Mahen Bonetti, NYAFF Founder and AFF Executive Director.

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“The Opening Night selection is the North American premiere of Over the Bridge, Tolu Ajayi’s feature about corruption in Lagos as Folarin, a successful investment banker whose company is contracted by the government to oversee a high-profile project, searches for answers when the project goes awry, which leads him to a remote fishing village to put the pieces of the mystery together,” per the release. 

“The Closing Night selection features the New York premiere of Dibakar Das Roy’s riveting and uproarious Dilli Dark, which shows the boundaries Nigerian MBA candidate Michael Okeke will push to succeed as he lives a double life as a student and drug dealer amidst the backdrop of India’s history of colonialism, racism, and xenophobia,” the release states. 

“The Rhythm and the Blues” screening is scheduled for Saturday., May 11, at 5:30 pm, followed by a Q&A with Leon and director Darryl Pitts. Get tickets here



Set against the backdrop of a turbulent industry rife with obscurity, corruption, and cultural appropriation, “The Rhythm and the Blues” illuminates Eddie Taylor’s life and serves as a poignant commentary on the enduring struggle for recognition and authenticity in the music world. 

Per the official synopsis: A tale of passion, struggle, and the enduring power of music in an ever-changing world, The Rhythm and The Blues is the true-life story of legendary bluesman Eddie Taylor and his fight for recognition against obscurity, industry corruption, and the British Invasion’s cultural appropriation. Portrayed by actor and musician Leon, Taylor’s battles extend to his family, where an ambitious young wife and idolizing stepson complicate his quest for musical respect. 

Watch the trailer above.

In our exclusive interview with Leon, he offers insight into his transformative portrayal of Taylor and the profound resonance of his story in today’s cultural landscape. Watch the clip below.

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READ MORE FROM EURWEB.COM: Juneteenth Film Festival Returns to Kansas City

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