Academy Award® and Peabody Award-winning production house collaborate on the definitive story of the Black Dandy Street Style movement and its impact on pop culture and politics
Innovative and award-winning production house 44 Blue Productions, a Red Arrow Studios company, has acquired the rights to Shantrelle P. Lewis’ critically acclaimed book Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style, and is partnering with Academy Award® winner Viola Davis and her husband Julius Tennon’s company JuVee Productions to executive produce Dandy Lions, a premium documentary series inspired by the book and its curated collection of photographs and stories of dandies, designers and movements from around the world.
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. 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 and Executive Producer Shantrelle P. Lewis puts it, “for black men, fashion choices can be a matter of life and death.”
“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 Executive Producer Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch, co-founder and president of 44 Blue, whose most recent premium documentary was last year’s top-rated HBO show Rock and a Hard Place, produced with Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks. “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.”
“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 Executive Producers Julius Tennon and Viola Davis.
“We’re thrilled to join with 44 Blue in showcasing and celebrating the Dandy Lion phenomenon,” said Andrew Wang, Head of TV for JuVee Productions. “Dandy Lions ‘dress to express’ and their bold style choices – a mélange of elegant fashions, old and new – are powering a movement that continues to defy stereotypes and redefine traditional notions of masculinity and culture.”
“Dandy Lions presents a fresh, stylistic and at the same time critical look inside a vibrant subculture fashioned by Black men across the world but, more generally, witnesses the creative ingenuity of Black peoples everywhere,” said Shantrelle P. Lewis, author and Executive Producer. “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. After publishing Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style with Aperture in 2017, I am overjoyed to bring this project to television, in partnership with Julius Tennon, Viola Davis and the dynamic teams at 44 Blue and Juvee Productions.”