The late Rudy Ray Moore (1927-2008) was a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer. In today’s world, a person can become famous solely for the amount of followers they have on social media and not for possessing any sort of actual talent. Rudy lived in a time where technology wasn’t available for personal gain, and therefore he attempted it all. Throughout his life he was a preacher, a singer, dancer, a comedian, and even served in the Army before moving from Seattle to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of stardom.
He developed the character Dolemite and turned his raunchy, obscene, offensive rhymes into a stage act. He then made live recordings and sold them as comedy albums. He decided to use the money he made from his record sales and self-finance his own feature film, Dolemite.
Dolemite was released April 26, 1975 and was made on a budget of $100,000. The film would eventually go on to earn a total of $12 million. Moore was influenced by Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor, but his witty style of rhyming earned him the moniker “The Godfather of Rap” as he inspired rappers from Big Daddy Kane to Snoop Dogg.
When you consider how much of an impact Rudy and Dolemite had on Black culture, it makes sense that Eddie Murphy would portray him in the biopic Dolemite Is My Name which hits theaters this weekend and will begin streaming on Netflix on October 25th.
The film introduces Rudy (Eddie) at a time when he is a failed comic and singer working at a music store still hoping for his big break. His group of entertainer friends think he should give up, until they see Rudy bring Dolemite to life and his popularity spreads like wildfire.
Rudy is driven by his desire to prove everyone whoever doubted him wrong, but he also wanted to share the success with those who stood by him through thick and thin. He writes Dolemite with the help of Jerry Jones (Keegan-Michael Key) and hires semi-famous actor D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes) to direct. His close circle of friends, Jimmy (Mike Epps), Ben (Craig Robinson), Theodore (Tituss Burgess) and Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) help with production duties. Other cameos include Snoop Dogg, T.I., Luenelle, and Chris Rock.
Eddie, Wesley, Luenelle and even director Craig Brewer are all currently working on Coming 2 America, so this is sort of a sneak peek at what fans can expect from the highly anticipated sequel.
I flew out to Los Angeles to cover the red carpet screening and got interviews from a few of the cast members!