Michael King will take center stage at the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Martin Luther King Day celebration in Hartford this Monday, Jan. 19, the Hartford Advocate noted recently.
King, who grew up in New London and now lives in Los Angeles, will screen his film “Rapping with Shakespeare,” about an English teacher at a south central Los Angeles High school who uses hip-hop and rap to introduce his students to Shakespeare. The film also follows five students and explores the parallels between their lives and those of Shakespeare’s characters.
The screening starts at 1 p.m. and will be followed by a discussion with King and some of the people in the film.
“I was able to find in the classroom a Hamlet, a girl who was raped and molested by her uncle and grandfather,” King told the newspaper. “Hamlet was not raped and molested, but he was dealing with horrors.” He said finding Romeo and Juliet was easy, as was finding Macbeth – a gangbanger. For Henry V, King lined up a six-foot, nine-inch basketball player who was white.
An MTV video filmed by King, “The Dream is Still Alive,” will also be on view at the Atheneum on Monday.
King won an Emmy for his 1999 film “Bangin,’” about youth violence in Hartford. He is working on another film, “The Rescuers: Heroes of the Holocaust,” about non-Jewish diplomats who helped save Jews from the Nazis during World War II, the Advocate said.
One of those heros was Prince Charles’ grandmother, who hid Jews in her Greek palace. King interviewed the prince for the film.