Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Petey Greene on the silver screen!
Can’t believe I didn’t know about this. But my buddy Jeff Krulik just told me that a movie based on Petey Greene’s life is coming out this summer.
Then I find out the trailer’s been on the Internet for a couple of months already. And Don Cheadle stars as Petey! (The trailer is embedded above.)
If you never lived in Washington, you probably never heard of Petey Greene. Unless you’ve seen that “watermelon” video that’s all over YouTube. (I didn’t know about that shit either. But more about that watermelon video later…)
Petey Greene was the longtime host of a low-budget TV talk show called “Petey Greene’s Washington.” He was also an AM radio personality. I wouldn’t say I was a fan, but you couldn’t grow up in D.C. without being familiar with his signature rappin’ sign-off:
I’ll tell it to the young, tell it to the old. Tell it to the hot, tell it to the cold. I don’t want no laughin’, don’t want no cryin’. And most of all, no signifyin’.”
About all I seemed to know about Petey Greene was that he was an ex-convict who got his community-activist hustle on, in tune with the times. And he was ghetto. Petey Greene was ghetto before ghetto crossed over. Nobody on TV was streetier than Petey. Case could be made that he was too ghetto… even for Chocolate City in the 1970s. (Yeah, I’m getting to the watermelon. Be cool, y’all. Damn.)
Greene died in 1984, but the legend lives on. The movie, directed by Kasi Lemmons, is “Talk to Me.” It’s supposed to be really good. I can’t wait to see it.
“Talk to Me” opens in limited release on July 13. It’ll also screen on June 21 to open the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Now, for those of you in need of lessons on how to eat watermelon, I present the man himself… Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene, Jr.: