Family Fued: Dexter Approves Biopic, Bernice and MLK III Do Not

Aw. Remember when the King kids were just cute little kids? Not suing each other and arguing about Daddy’s legacy? Well, I personally don’t because I was born in 1977, but I have this picture. Proof they all once got along when they rocked Pampers.Monday news broke that Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks had reached an agreement with the estate of Martin Luther King Jr. to create a biopic on the life of the slain civil rights leader. Everyone was excited. Everyone was interested. Who would play King? Would this be a three-hour-epic like Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X?” How would it differ from the King miniseries that reduces me to tears when they show it once a year during Black History Month?

But hold up! Wait a minute! This involves the King family, right? I got a bad feeling about this …

More after the jump.

While many people were happy to hear Monday that a prestigious Martin Luther King movie was in the works, two of the civil rights leader’s children weren’t so pleased. Martin Luther King III and Bernice King claim that their brother, Dexter King, sold their father’s life rights without consulting them.

Bernice told the AP:

This is a deal that Mr. Spielberg and his people … have entered into believing that they have the blessing of The King Estate. They don’t have the blessings of Bernice and Martin King.

Oh, Dexter. Once again his siblings are accusing him of being all about the Benjamins and nothing about preserving and protecting their father’s legacy. (Or, at least asking their permission.) Dexter King is in charge of the King Estate and foundation and there’s pretty much nothing MLK III and Bernice can do but sue whenever they think he’s over stepped a line.

And if you ask them, Dex is a habitual line-stepper. You remember how things went down the last time Dexter was jingling the change bucket for his family name?

In March, Dexter King brokered a deal with EMI Music Publishing for his father’s words and image. Last month, Bernice King and Martin Luther King III took issue with an $800,000 licensing deal their brother struck with the foundation tasked with building a memorial to their father on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The siblings still haven’t settled three lawsuits involving their parents’ estates, including one attempting to force Dexter King to open the books of their father’s estate. Another would determine who should control Coretta Scott King‘s personal items — some of which were at the center of a $1.4 million book deal about their mother’s life that fell apart last year. (Associated Press)

Why, kids of King? Why? Your parents were so awesome. Everyone loves them and wants to know more about them. Your father is an international symbol of triumph over adversity and human rights. Your mother is a beloved figure of the movement, fighting for both blacks and women. Why do you all have to suck so hard all of the time? Was it the pressure? I mean, it is a lot of pressure when Ma and Pa have raised the bar insanely high. I wouldn’t have blamed any of you if you’d all just gone to college and become nothing but history professors and dentists. Instead we all get treated to this now yearly spectacle of “The King Kids Fight It Out And Nothing Gets Done.” Thank God other people are paying for the monument in D.C. otherwise that sucker would never get made. 

And at the rate the lawsuits are a flying, I bet this movie won’t get made either. Just like their mom’s biography didn’t get written and … Is it just me or do they not realize that their parents are historical figures and, at this point, belong to everyone in some capacity? I mean, why are they denying school children, historians and us from learning all we can about two people who mean so much to both the Civil Rights and Human Rights movements? Sure. We’ve heard everyone else’s stories about the Kings, but, King kids, history demands better of you.

Get it together.

28 thoughts on “Family Fued: Dexter Approves Biopic, Bernice and MLK III Do Not

  1. Personally, I think the King children have serious issues that they never got over after there Dad was killed. Can you imagine the years of people telling you to grow up and be just like your father over and over. Even in your post you plead with the children to remember there father and his legacy. The King children cannot escape there father legacy is the problem that is why only one of them only had a freaking kid last year. All three of Kings kids need to get real freaking jobs and stop living off there dad legacy but the public won’t let them move on. So, it’s all sort of tragic how they are stuck fighting over money related to there Father. They never grew up past being only King kids.

  2. @ TiaThat’s why I suggested they would have been better off being history professors and dentists or anything but trying to be like their parents. You can honor you parents’ legacy by just playing steward. You don’t have to become a minister or play out an MLK pantomime like some of them did. I’m just like, dude, be good stewards. They could have hired a board to handle the foundation and run it and they could have just showed up for the meetings to give approval. Instead they’re constantly fighting over what to do. So while some of it is public pressure from people who expected them to be their parents, they still had a choice. Maybe they didn’t think they had one, but they did. After all, for every Kennedy kid who pursued politics there was another who just said, "Thanks, but no thanks."I also think it was more King’s contemporaries who pushed them, even more so than the public, because I think most black people would have left them alone, but every time I saw an interview with someone who actually worked with their father they’d get this far away look in their eyes and say hearing Bernice preach was like hearing Martin preach. I mean, ultimately, I think these were the individuals who assisted in screwing with their heads. Most black Americans, I think, would have been pleased if they’d just grown up and been model citizens/good stewards and just lived their lives.

  3. Everybody has to find their own path in their own time. Children don’t always become stellar offspring of their famous parents. The gene pool is fickle that way, and that’s probably a good thing. There’s something very humanizing about "greedy" Dexter and his battling siblings. Aren’t most families this way?

  4. Am I the only person who is not excited about a biopic? Hollywood has a tendency to sensationalize and distort. How much more distortion can King’s legacy take? It is unfortunate that the King family is fighting however my issue is with the possible Hollywood movie.

  5. There must be something else going on behind the scenes that none of us are privy to that would explain why the three of them can’t get it together. This is seriously ridiculous. So much amazing things that could come out of their cooperation, but they keep acting like the three stooges. Someone needs to stage an intervention.Did Malcolm’s children have it this bad? The only one that was a real screw up was Qubilah. Ilyasah wrote a book and went to college…the others seem to live relatively quiet lives. What’s the deal?

  6. Perhaps it’s not just the fact that Dexter is trying to rake in the bucks, but HOW he’s doing it, that irks his siblings. They may think the script sucks. They may want a different director. Maybe they believe that a movie would be incapable of accurately portraying their parents.Perhaps they are just forever pissed that Dexter has that much power.@ Rhondacoca — Ditto

  7. Dexter seems more than a notion. I do wish they could resolve this out of the public eye. That said, I dunno how I feel about the biopic.

  8. Well if this film does get made I hope Jeffrey Wright plays king (again) and not Jamie Foxx.@ TruthtellerMalcolm’s grandson set a fire that caused the death of Betty Shabazz. He’s Qubilah’s son, who is named Malcolm. So both families have had their problems unfortunately.

  9. The King miniseries, (with Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson), was excellent. I have doubts about this new version.

  10. I can only talk about Marty and Yolanda, and then only memories from elementary school. Yolanda was in my older sister’s class and Marty was in mine. Their younger brother was in one of my brother’s class. Who pays attention to little kids? Yolanda had an electricity about her; she was a presence, even then. Marty was a shy, rather chubby boy. Mrs. King seemed a demanding woman. It is hard to escape expectations, and be who you are. I’ve long felt for Marty, who would probably like to stay in the background. I hope they all find some kind of peace one day, as their dad helped bring more to this nation, and the world.

  11. It is a shame that they are squabbling. It is always a 2 to 1 fight. I feel bad for Dexter considering he look like MLK to the letter. He and Yolanda(RIP) looked more like their parents then MLK3 and Bernice. Why not a biopic of MLK.? The Muhammad Ali, Ray, and Malcolm X movies were phenomenal. They need to go on Dr. Phil to work out their issues.

  12. I, so hope that the King children can get their act together. It seems that they go public with each disagreement that they have. I wish that they could come together as a family and work out their diffeences in private so that the entire nation doesn’t have to be privy to all of their ups and downs. It’s so embarrassing that they never seem to agree on anything and each thinks that they are losing out on something. Such a pity.

  13. cosign w MonieIf you look at all of our civil rights leaders’ children, you will find a similar thread of troubles & triff among many of them. Hey, maybe this is just the PK effect. Most of the civil rights leaders were religious leaders first. hmmm. It couldn’t have been easy growing up as one of those kids. But Still, They Need to Stop!!!Dexter would be selling Dream Burgers to tourists on Auburn Ave given a moment to set up the street cart.

  14. Thank you, thank you for your post. You put into words everything that I was feeling about them..

  15. I love that mini series!I thought I was the only one who still watched the King mini-series (Special shout out to Paul & Cicely). I make sure I am glued to the TV during that time in January. If this one ever gets off the ground, I pray it is stellar and not like the lame Rosa Parks story that even the great Angela Bassett could not save.

  16. I don’t think they are being trifling for not wanting this biopic to be made. We don’t know who is writing it, who is starring in it, how much of MLK’s life it will cover, etc. Hollywood has a way distorting facts and calling it creative license. There is a lot written on MLK and Coretta Scott King. IIf you wanna find out more go pick up a book, look at a documentary, or do some research. Don’t rely on Steven Spielberg and Will Smith to give you an accurate representation of our history. They aren’t denying anyone of learinng more about their parents- they just want to make sure the way the history is presented is accurate, respectful, and tasteful.

  17. Can they do a biopic on somebody else besides Dr. King? I love Dr. King and am grateful for the sacrifices he made for humanity. But, there are enough documentaries and movies out on Dr. King. Hollywood acts like Dr. King is the only black person who made history. Why won’t they make a movie about Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Eartha Kitt, Celia Cruz. I’d love to see a movie about Coretta Scott King.

  18. Snob:Emboldened by Coretta’s, now the King kids’ moves, Dontre Tariq Quincy Adams of Dorchester, Ma and Shauniqua Abigail Adams of College Park, Ga, have retained Willie Geary Esq. to sue historian David McCullough and HBO for appropriating the images and words of their "white ancestor" without giving them a cut…No lie. šŸ˜‰

  19. Please tell me this is not just about money. Please! Tell me it’s about something deeper. Tell me it’s about wanting to protect their parents’ legacy. Tell me that they were not pleased with the quality or content of the upcoming projects. Tell me it’s about anything, anything but money!

  20. I have been asking myself that question for the past 5 years – since Mrs. King passed away. With Yolanda’s passing, it seems the family continued its problems into the public eye. They are the products of INCREDIBLE people and yet they are simple reduced to being portrayed as squabbling offspring and in my opinion "idiots" – why not just continue the legacy? What makes common sense to the rest of us, doesnt’ to them.

  21. "Oh, Dexter. Once again his siblings are accusing him of being all about the Benjamins and nothing about preserving and protecting their father’s legacy."-Black SnobYeaaaaaaah Snob, not that I know Dexter personally or anything, but I mean, this is Spielberg-Dreamworks money we’re talking about here. I don’t think they had to dangle that hard for Dexter to go after that carrot. Doesn’t make him noble. I’m just not too comfortable with the idea that all is game once "historical figures" die. Suppose one of Mrs.King’s personal items was something of great meaning to her family, it shouldn’t remain among her kin because the public has this false notion of first dibs? And even worse, if the son with rights is out to make a quick buck?

  22. Also I just wanted to point out the large number of commenters that don’t seem particularly interested in the biopic. I thought it was just me. I think the reality is that MLK has numerous movies, documentaries and books produced about him for public consumption. I cosign on the view that there are many other pioneering, civil rights demanding, world shaping blacks that deserve the spotlight too.

  23. When siblings take each other to court, it’s not about the principal. It’s always about the Benjamins. In my days of selling real estate, i saw it too many times when children inherited land, and couldn’t agree on the disposition of it. The Ka-ching kids are an embarrassment to their parents’ legacy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top
%d bloggers like this: