This week, BlackVoices is shining the spotlight on 12 people who are primed to make big waves in 2012.
Captivating theatergoers with his Broadway productions "Fences," "A Raisin in the Sun," "Stick Fly," and "The Mountaintop," Kenny Leon is bound add a few more pillars to his illustrious career. Last year it was announced that the Tony Award-nominated director is set to remake the 1989 film "Steel Magnolias" complete with an all-black cast.
As expected, the announcement came as a surprise for some who questioned whether or not the Atlanta native will be able to pull off a revamped version.
"I can't pay attention to the haters. Most of the feedback I've gotten is people excited and wanting to do it," he said admitted to HuffPost BlackVoices. "Everything is about variety; I think there's room for everything. There's room for Spike Lee's movies, there's room for Tyler Perry's movies, there's room for classics with an all black cast. There's room for all of it as long as we don't try to make any one piece define us as a race. So I think the reasons to do it is because it's a classical piece of material and it should be approached by anyone who wants to do it."
"It's funny and it will be uplifting and it also going to give people jobs, so I don't really listen to a lot of haters. If I listened to haters I would not be doing "The Mountaintop" on Broadway now. People said, 'Why do that? It's a bad idea to portray King in that way' or whatever. And then you find out that one-hundred percent of the audiences embracing this whole idea of being reintroduced to Dr. King and what he was about. So if I listened to the haters I wouldn't be doing any work."
In addition to the debut of the Lifetime remake of "Steel Magnolias" this year, Leon is also working with Afeni Shakur on a Broadway musical based of the music of late rapper Tupac Shakur.