Steven Bannon, the White House Chief Strategist of the Trump administration, has been called many things in his days — including alleged white supremacist, among other things. At least one of titles had gone under the radar, though: failed film writer and director. And possibly, unqualified Hip Hop historian.
The gross failure of a mythical screenplay based on Shakespeare’s Coriolanus re-imagined as a rap musical set amid the 1992 Los Angeles riots titled The Thing I Am, had been swirling for at least a year. The story seemed an SNL sketch at first read. However, the original screenplay — conceived alongside writing partner Julia Jones — was recently unearthed in its entirety. It’s everything you think it is, and more.
Excerpts reveal characters names Baby Gangsta and Stink Eye, and traditional Shakespearean prose combined with cliche street slang. Results were less than stellar.
Steve Bannon wrote a rap musical about the 1992 LA race riots, and it's downright awful https://t.co/aWJrFvzPoBpic.twitter.com/5wdcXjbANg
— Vibe Magazine (@VibeMagazine) May 2, 2017
In an interview with DailyBeast, Jones explained that she and Bannon’s assistant’s son worked out the raps, while Bannon himself directly influenced a sizable portion of the “dudes” dialogue. Actor and comedian Gary Anthony Williams, who was invited to a table read by of the play by NowThis told Washington Post “I think Steve Bannon thought he had figured out black people.”
The most critical points, though, are that the story’s backdrop is a city that violently protested — and continues to oppose — his appointment by Trump vocally, and the story’s primary device is a culture that has deep routes in Islam, a faith he’s publicly been at odds with over the years.
Understandably, the screenplay never went any further than Bannon’s desk, but it’s a bizarre piece of the overall Breitbart puzzle.