(AllHipHop Features) Markuann Smith is a fixture in the background of music and television, but his legacy is about to take a huge leap forward into the spotlight. The Harlem-born, Queens-reared creative was essentially born to hustle, as his mother worked three jobs to provide. After getting kicked out of the house, the rebellious young man forged again in a moment that appeared to be a huge L.
The streets were tough, but at the dawn of a Hip-Hop Renaissance, he began to tour with his brother Father M.C., a popular rapper that was signed to the legendary Uptown MCA records. Markuann got to meet and hang with the likes of Tupac, Toni Tony Tone, Digital Underground and Boyz II Men and even work as a roadie for burgeoning mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs. He got started to take his acting seriously after graduating from Morgan State University with a minor in Theater. Markuann has had roles in the "Chapelle Show", "Juice", "Poetic Justice" and the award-winning short film "A Good Day to Die". He even also hosted AllHipHopTV for this very site. Now, he's about to make his biggest move yet.
"The Godfather of Harlem" chronicles the life and times of gangster Bumpy Johnson (played by acting impresario Forest Whitaker) who came to rise uptown in the 1960s. The show acts as a prequel to "American Gangster", the hit movie that starred Denzel Washington. Markuann is one of the executive producers alongside Nina Yang Bongiovi and James Acheson. We talked to the Markuann and got the scoop with the 18 years it took to make this epic story come to life. He also tells his own remarkable story of focus, vision and tenacity. (Follow him @Markuann on all social media outlets)
Here are the other cast of characters:
- Forest Whitaker as Bumpy Johnson
- Vincent D'Onofrio as Vincent Gigante
- Ilfenesh Hadera as Mayme Johnson
- Antoinette Crowe-Legacy as Elise
- Nigél Thatch as Malcolm X
- Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Teddy Greene
- Lucy Fry as Stella
- Paul Sorvino as Frank Costello
- Giancarlo Esposito as Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
- Rafi Gavron as Ernie Nunzi