Wondery and Universal Music Group have announced that Oscar Nominee and Golden Globe Award-winner Taraji P. Henson will host and also serve as a producer on Jacked: Rise of the New Jack Sound with Barry Michael Cooper serving as consulting producer.
The six-part series will focus on the complex relationships of a group of teenagers from Harlem who would create a sound that forever changed music. Told through Wondery’s style of immersive, character-driven storytelling, “Jacked” will feature dozens of interviews including band members and managers, and extensive music from UMG’s catalog. This marks the first joint project since the previously announced partnership between Wondery and UMG. Written by Rico Gagliano and Andy Hermann, “Jacked” premieres on November 17 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, the Wondery App, and wherever you listen to podcasts. You can check a trailer out below.
From 1987 to 1992, New Jack Swing’s innovative fusion of hip-hop and R&B dominated the charts. Even if you’ve never heard of New Jack Swing, you know the music: Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative,” Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” Tony Toni Tone’s “Feels Good” or Wreckx-N-Effect’s “Rumpshaker” – New Jack’s influence can be heard today. In fact, many of today’s artists were shaped by New Jack Swing artists and producers including Teddy Riley, who was a member of the band, Guy. Despite the popularity of New Jack Swing during its heyday and the lasting influence of its pioneers, few people know the real story behind the music. It’s a story of dashed hopes, jealousy, betrayal, drugs, hip-hop, and rivalries. And it all comes to a head with a fatal shooting during a massive summer concert tour.
Taraji P. Henson quickly rose to fame after her breakout performance in the critically acclaimed film Hustle & Flow. She recently wrapped her iconic run as Cookie Lyon in Fox’s hit musical drama Empire, which earned her three Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe Award, Critic’s Choice Award, and three BET Awards. She earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt.
In the fall of 2018, she launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in honor of her late father. The organization will provide scholarships to African-American students majoring in mental health, offer mental health services to youth in urban schools, and work to lower the recidivism rates of African-American men and women. She is currently developing an “Empire” spinoff with her production company, TPH Entertainment, as part of her First-Look Deal with 20th Century Fox TV.
Check out each episode of Jacked: Rise of the New Jack Sound here.