Press Release

Taraji P. Henson to host and produce alongside Wondery and Universal Music Group

24 November 2020
Oscar® Nominee and Golden Globe® Award-Winner Taraji P. Henson to host and produce alongside Wondery and Universal Music Group

“Jacked” Marks the First Jointly Produced Series from
Wondery and Universal Music Group

LOS ANGELES, CA, Oct. 15, 2020 – Today, Wondery and Universal Music Group (UMG) announced that Oscar® Nominee and Golden Globe® Award-winner Taraji P. Henson will host and also serve as a producer on “Jacked: The Rise of New Jack Swing” 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. JACKED will premiere on Nov. 17 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, the Wondery App and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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.

“Jacked: The Rise of New Jack Swing” is written by Rico Gagliano and Andy Hermann.

The partnership between Wondery and UMG is to develop premium original podcasts by tapping into Wondery’s critically acclaimed immersive storytelling and drawing upon the breadth of UMG’s renowned musical catalog and its iconic roster of artists and labels.

The Six-Part Podcast Series of the Rise and Eventual Fall of New Jack Swing to Premiere on Nov. 17

About Taraji P. Henson:
Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe winning actor, writer and producer 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 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.

About Wondery:
Wondery is the largest independent podcast publisher in the world, known for character-driven, binge-worthy stories including “Dr. Death,” “Guru,” “Blood Ties” and “Business Wars.” Wondery is behind 8 of the Top 20 New Shows of 2019, according to Podtrac, with “The Shrink Next Door” landing at the #1 new show of 2019. Twenty-eight of Wondery’s shows have hit #1 on Apple Podcasts including its latest series, “Bunga Bunga” about the rise and fall of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Several of them have been, or are in the process of being, adapted for scripted television. Wondery has gained critical acclaim and commercial success for its immersive approach to sonic, emotionally immersive storytelling, which helps listeners to “feel the story”. Wondery’s immersive podcast experience is now personalized for fans in the Wondery app. The app is home to their premium ad free offer, Wondery+, which has over 7,000 episodes, including exclusive podcasts, bonus episodes, and early release of some shows.

About Universal Music Group:
Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com.

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