When Swizz Beatz and Timbaland created their Verzuz platform that began as lockdown era entertainment, they had no idea it would transform into a not-to-be-missed series that has given us some of the best moments in live hip-hop and R&B of the last two years. “When we first started this mission the entire world had hit rock bottom. People were going through so much and Tim and I felt we should do something to help folks escape,’ Swizz explained. “The rest is history.”
Amazon Studios, Hillman Grad Productions and Good Trouble Studios are partnering for the feature-length documentary Gifted & Black for Prime Video. James Adolphus will direct, with actor, producer and Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe producing under her Hillman Grad Productions with music icons Swizz Beatz and Timbaland at her side.
Gifted & Black will feature candid interviews including archival footage that displays the beauty, creativity and the power of Black Music. Inspired by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s music phenomenon Verzuz, and set against the backdrop of the pandemic and the recent racial reckoning, Gifted & Black explores the powerful traditions of Black music and how it went from the plantation to the Pulitzer Prize. The docuseries interweaves the roots of Black music, embedding in Black communities and with Black musical artists, offering insights into how Black music continues to be an uplifting and uniting haven that endures through unpredictable times.
“Verzuz is more than just two artist going song-for-song. It’s a testament to the power of Black people. It’s a joyful celebration of legacy that we all needed. With this documentary, we’re excited to take audiences behind the scenes of this global phenomenon, while also paying tribute to the artists that shaped us. We could not be more grateful to Amazon for seeing the vision, and this film wouldn’t be possible without our amazing filmmakers, James Adolphus and Ben Selkow. They have flown to every city, interviewed every artist and continue to capture history as it happens. We can’t wait for the world to see how this whole thing comes together,” Waithe explained.
Timbaland shared, “Swizz and I are excited to show the world everything that took place behind the scenes during the process, while celebrating the artists that helped us build Verzuz,” said Timbaland. “Thank you to our entire team, Hillman Grad, James Aldophus, Ben Seklow, Amazon, Triller, and everyone involved. Verzuz came from our love of culture and our love of music and the fact that it has become the force it is today is way beyond anything Swizz or I could’ve imagined.”
Gifted & Black is a phenomenal way to show respect to, honor and celebrate Verzuz impact on Black culture. The docuseries embodies the beauty of Black life, the brilliance of the Black mind and the magic of Black love.