Glynn Turman, Walter Newton, Huey P., The big cigar

Glynn Turman Gets To ‘Re-Explore’ His Activist Roots In New Huey P. Newton Series ‘The Big Cigar’

Legendary actor Glynn Turman recalls his civil right past and its full circle ties to the new Apple TV+ series about Huey P. Newton.

Legendary actor Glynn Turman is applying his 60+ years of acting to a new limited Apple TV+ drama series about the late revolutionary Black Panther Party Founder Huey P. Newton.

Based on the incredible true story of Newton’s bold escape from the FBI to Cuba, “The Big Cigar” reveals the drastic measures a group of allies took to secure the political activists’ freedom. Hollywood revolution meets social revolution when Newton attempts to run away from the FBI with the assistance of famed producer Bert Schneider through a fake movie production that goes wrong in every way imaginable.

Turman takes on the role of Newton’s father, Walter Newton, a character who comes full circle for him, considering his time marching for civil rights.

“To have a piece come about, about a time in my life when I was a young man and out there marching and protesting and doing what all of the young people are doing now, it was a nostalgic piece for me because I remember all of that and I had been a part of so much of that and knew so many of the characters, Richard Pryor and Bobby Seale, we were all cohorts,” Turman tells BLACK ENTERPRISE.

“It was a wonderful time, a chance to re-explore that part of my life.”

The six-episode drama premieres globally on Friday, May 17. The first two episodes will be followed by new episodes every Friday through June 14. The first two episodes are directed by multiple-award winner Don Cheadle, whom Turman hasn’t worked with since they played father and son on Showtime’s comedy-drama House of Lies.

With Turman taking on a father figure role in “The Big Cigar,” he’s able to recall the worry parents of the time had about their children taking part in Newton’s revolutionary fight against the shady practices of America’s criminal and social justice system. But with him being among the youth at the time and putting things into perspective over 50 years later, the veteran actor knows how necessary the rebellion of activists then and now is to ignite beneficial change.

“I think what’s important is to keep the Newton a mystique, the Newton message in the forefront,” Turman says of the series’ significance. “We need the young people to know that bold steps can be and should be taken.”

He continued. “And that in spite of what the establishment says, that we have a right to voice your opinions and to go up against the odds and that you young people deserve that. Those of us who are now older and of reason should not damper those efforts, should not make light of those emotions and that courage that you possess.”

Turman also takes a trip down memory lane to explore the impact of his roles in iconic films, TV shows, and productions like Lorraine Hansberry’s 1059 landmark play “A Raisin in the Sun” opposite Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee, 1975’s “Cooley High,” “A Different World,” and 1994’s “The Inkwell,” among many others. These projects continue to have significant influence and serve as notable representations of Black history and Black culture, which Turman cites as “an honor.”

Press play below for the full interview, and be sure to check out “The Big Cigar” on Apple TV+ on Friday, May 17, and every Friday through June 14.

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