BOSSIP Exclusive: Robert Ri’Chard Talks Kaepernick, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly And The ‘Bolden’ Movie

- By Bossip Staff

Robert Ri'chard

Source: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Jazz At Lincoln Center / Getty

Robert Ri’Chard Talks About His Role In ‘Bolden’

We’ve been hearing about the ‘Bolden’ movie about jazz legend Buddy Bolden for eons now, and the project finally heads to television on the EPIX network tonight.

BOSSIP spoke with Robert Ri’Chard, who costars in the film and he talks race, culture and ‘Bolden’.

Check out what he had to say below.

BOSSIP: With the ‘Bolden’ film, the central character is a musician who has gotten too influential — according the powers that be, can you think of anyone in this day and age who has faced a similar struggle?

Robert Ri’Chard: With the Colin Kaepernick story, they got rid of him, for like exercising his first amendment right, like peaceful acknowledgement of injustice, that doesn’t happen to Ben Roethlisberger, that doesn’t happen to Tom Brady, none of them, it’s not even going to happen to like, Robert Kraft. In our film, you have this artist who is aggregating an audience and there is power in being able to bring people together and they’re like ‘Kill ‘im. Kill ‘im with whatever you can, drugs, sex, alcohol, violence.’

BOSSIP: Who Is They?

RR: The man, the figurehead in the film is the governor of Louisiana. The line in the movie is “Destroy their soul and they will destroy themselves.” Just the women and the drugs and the alcohol and the interracial fights, all these things they’re trying to influence and then throwing him in and out of the insane asylum and out of jail and stuff. And all they wanted to do was trap this man’s sound in a box that’s called radio and once they’ve done that successfully they won’t need him anymore.

I look at all the things that are happening with some of the people that we admired growing up: Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, and all that stuff, it’s like okay, we made the dough off these guys, so now, okay, destroy their legacy.

It’s just like, there is an institution that is very parasitic of anything that is culture and commerce. We’re a part of that. We create culture, we always have, what we do is what everyone does, we the cool kids and once we figure to get all the money out of that, like just dispose of it.

BOSSIP: What were your thoughts when you saw the final edit?

Robert Ri’Chard: I watched that movie and I was like — they did it in the most excellent way. Not short and sweet, but so compact, it gets to the point, exposes it and shows a resolution it’s exciting and entertaining, the music is great and the stakes are high. It’s a technical masterpiece. Dan Pritzker the director of the film, is the biggest supporter of Black scholarships in the world, The score was like 98 out of 100 from the original people who saw it. When I watched it, I wanted to watch again.

If people like ‘Black Panther,’ then this is the film to see, because it’s real.

BOSSIP: Talk to us about your character


Robert Ri’Chard:
I play a character called George Baquet, a real guy. I was the lead orchestra clarinet player of that time in the South, and Buddy hates me because I represent everything that was an insecurity to him – I’m light-skinned, I can read music, etc… and he has this art he created out of the call and response that’s in his head but I can essentially recreate it because I know how to read music. The certain part of his schizophrenia has him thinking it’s more special than that, which it is, but we’re fighting like the entire film. It’s kinda really cool because we’re in the same band and we’re both black but I’m the light-skinned black guy, they refer to that in the movie. I like the film because there are certain parts of the film they don’t pull punches on. Like the N word — they use it ALOT, effectively. That’s dope. It was great to be on a film where there was no studio to say “Can we modify that?” There was no one to say no and it was dope — honest and good.

BOSSIP: How was it filming in New Orleans?

Robert Ri’Chard: I love New Orleans, it’s like the best food in the world. I’ve had some of the best food in my life in New Orleans at a bar at 3 am after the kitchen was closed. I walked into the bar in the French Quarter and I asked “Is there someplace I can get food?” The bartender was like ‘I can cook you up something and he goes back in the back and comes back with crab stuffed snapper.

Gotta love it. ‘Bolden’ premieres at 10pm on EPIX tonight. Will you be watching?

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